Global Warming Slowdown: The View from Space

April 16th, 2013 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Since the slowdown in surface warming over the last 15 years has been a popular topic recently, I thought I would show results for the lower tropospheric temperature (LT) compared to climate models calculated over the same atmospheric layers the satellites sense.

Courtesy of John Christy, and based upon data from the KNMI Climate Explorer, below is a comparison of 44 climate models versus the UAH and RSS satellite observations for global lower tropospheric temperature variations, for the period 1979-2012 from the satellites, and for 1975 2025 for the models:
Clearly, there is increasing divergence over the years between the satellite observations (UAH, RSS) and the models. The reasons for the disagreement are not obvious, since there are at least a few possibilities:

1) the real climate system is not as sensitive to increasing CO2 as the models are programmed to be (my preferred explanation)

2) the extra surface heating from more CO2 has been diluted more than expected by increased mixing with cooler, deeper ocean waters (Trenberths explanation)

3) increased manmade aerosol pollution is causing a cooling influence, partly mitigating the manmade CO2 warming

If I am correct (explanation #1), then we will continue to see little warming into the future. Additional evidence for lower climate sensitivity in the above plot is the observed response to the 1991 Pinatubo eruption: the temporary temperature dip in 1992-93, and subsequent recovery, is weaker in the observations than in the models. This is exactly what would be predicted with lower climate sensitivity.

On the other hand, if Trenberth is correct (explanation #2), then there should be a period of rapid surface warming that resumes at some point, since the climate system must eventually try to achieve radiative energy equilibrium. Of course, exactly when that might be is unknown.

Explanation #3 (anthropogenic aerosol cooling), while theoretically possible, has always seemed like cheating to me since the magnitude of aerosol cooling is so uncertain it can be invoked in any amount desired to explain the observations. Besides, blaming a lack of warming on humans just seems a little bizarre.

The dark line in the above plot is the 44-model average, and it approximately represents what the IPCC uses for its official best estimate of projected warming. Obviously, there is a substantial disconnect between the models and observations for this statistic.

I find it disingenuous for those who claim that, because not ALL of individual the models disagree with the observations, the models are somehow vindicated. What those pundits fail to mention is that the few models which support weaker warming through 2012 are usually those with lower climate sensitivity.

So, if you are going to claim that the observations support some of the models, and least be honest and admit they support the models that are NOT consistent with the IPCC best estimates of warming.

298 Responses to “Global Warming Slowdown: The View from Space”

Toggle Trackbacks

  1. Svend Ferdinandsen says:

    I am a bit puzzled, that some models have less sensitivity.
    We are always told that they are based on solid scientific facts about the Earth and atmosphere, so how can the climate sensitivity be different.
    I also wonder why they use 44 models for the same purpose.
    Normally you use different models (simulators) for different problems or parts of the problem, but i have not seen any desciption on the models that limits their use to any special parts of the climate.

    • Many of the models are from different modeling groups around the world. Because there are so many uncertainties in modeling, there are different ways of handling the same problem, and so different models will get different answers.

      Even the same model can be run with different initial conditions, and some of the 44 models are of this type as well.

      • JayKay4 says:

        So if the models and their sensitivities do not agree, what is this scientific consensus that we keep hearing repeated over and over in the media and by most of the activists?

        • Rob JM says:

          considering a consensus is unscientific by it very nature, what do you think its about?
          Not mention the problem of how many wrong computer model runs does it take to make a right?

        • paul says:

          The consensus is the dark black line

      • cd says:


        I always thought that each group ran their models many, many times with different starting parameters and “weightings” to give many possible realisations. Essentially I thought the models all had a stochastic component, so that each model group would have multitude of outputs from all the different runs – you only plot one for each group. Is my assumption therefore wrong.

        • Roy Spencer says:

          I stated in my comment above, the 44 is made up of different models from different groups AN the same models run with different assumptions.

          • cd says:

            Thanks for replying.

            OK I can see what you mean…there’s a bit of both?

            What I was trying to ask, was whether or not a single group would run a model many times with different parameters – irrespective of what others are doing with the same/different models.

            I know that this shouldn’t make a great deal of difference to the points you’re making. I just wanted to know if I had the right idea.

    • Hops says:

      One the one hand, the temperature chart on this site shows the Mt Pinatubo eruption as an event that caused a pronounced cooling, and yet the vast cloud of smog from recently built Chinese power plants is dismissed. Can anyone explain why the correlation between the increase in that smog and the cooling should not be suspected of being causation?


      • Rob JM says:

        Its about size and location.
        SO2 absorbs energy from the sun, ie, it causes warming. When a volcano injects SO2 into the stratosphere the stratosphere warms at the expense of the troposphere.
        Ground level smog may lower the solar energy reaching the surface but not energy reaching the lower tropospheric atmosphere that satellite are measuring. The actual portion of the earths surface is actually quite small too.

        The actual cause of the pause in global warming is a lack of forcing.
        The warming was actually caused by a large 5% decrease in cloud cover between 1987 and 2000, This corresponds to a forcing of 0.9w/m2 in just 13 years and account for 0.3degC of the observed 0.4deg C warming in the Sat period. It also gives you a hard figure for climate sensitivity about 1.2 deg C warming for a doubling of CO2.

  2. Trenberth isn’t correct for at least four reasons:

    1. LWIR from greenhouse gases only penetrates a few microns to cause evaporative cooling of the ocean surface, not heating

    2. If the “missing heat” has gone to the deep oceans, it should have been picked up first in the upper oceans by ARGO, but wasn’t

    3. Heat rises, an overwhelming negative feedback to any alleged “increased mixing”

    4. The heat capacity of the ocean is over 1000 times greater than the atmosphere. Atmospheric temperature changes follow ocean temperature changes. The oceans control the atmospheric temperature, the tail doesn’t wag the dog.

    • Alec M says:

      There is no LWIR. It’s a pyrgrometer artefact. Anyone who claims different hasn’t a scientific clue. Unfortunately, that’s the great majority but it doesn’t make it right.

      The source of the cold water in the deep oceans is the melting of polar ice. Fresh water contracts when heated from 0 to 4 C so it sinks. The next stage is the diffusion of ions to maximise total entropy to get thermodynamic equilibrium – the partial molar heat of mixing of salt and water is very negative.

      To imagine that heat sinks without understanding that it’s all to do with enthalpy and entropy is to show incredible ignorance of the real physics. Trenberth fails on this.

      The isotherm at ~1.8 C is the maximum density of salty water – see the UNESCO Equation of State for water assembled by real scientists over a century instead of shallow climate shamans.

      • David Socrates says:

        Alec M,

        You have some VERY interesting things to say here about ocean heat (or rather lack of it) and Trenberth certainly needs to be challenged fiercely on what has always seemed to me (and I guess to most observers) a very feeble ‘last stand’ argument.

        But please don’t let that lead you into the mistake of raising the issue of downwelling LWIR radiation and whether is does or does not exist. This is (as you know) a very controversial discussion for other threads.

        My view is that downwelling radiation does exist but that it cannot heat a warmer body (in this case the ocean). All it can do is to offset the larger real flow of heat going in the opposite direction (in this case towards the atmosphere) thus slowing down the rate of cooling.

        Your view (I think) is that it is an unphysical artefact that is offset mathematically by an equally un-physical unidirectional upward radiative flow, and that only the NET energy flow (upwards) is the real physical phenomenon.

        But, since we get the same numerical result (the same net upward flow), can I respectfully suggest that it is best not to put in controversial claims, such as that there is no downwelling LWIR or that pyrgeometers (devices specifically designed to measure it) don’t work. It unnecessarily raises the hackles and is a diversion from the otherwise very important points you are making here about ocean heat processes which I had not heard before.

        All the best. 🙂

        • Alec M says:

          I disagree. The pyrgeometer error is obvious to anyone with a good grasp of radiative physics back to Maxwell’s Equations and statistical thermodynamics back to ‘Gibbs’ Paradox’ from which you show there can be no direct thermalisation of surface IR > local thermodynamic equilibrium.

          Mainstream physics, at least in the UK, is actively confronting this pseudo-science. 2nd year undergraduates in one course, at Bristol, are being told that if ‘back radiation’ were real, you could create a reverse heat engine and run vehicles on the free energy!

          Trenberth and the rest of the Meteorology and Climate Science trained use this mistaken physics to justify ~6.85 times as much atmospheric warming as is really the case and then because they can’t detect it as sensible and latent heat in the atmosphere, claim part has to sink into the oceans.

          You can’t make this kind of outrageous claim in normal science and get away with it so why should this lot be allowed to do so?

          • Dave T says:

            You keep mentioning this so-called pyrgeometer error as though it is a well known term. I have been working in this field for 30 years and have never heard of this concept. Nor have I heard of thermalization. Nor have I heard of the Gibbs’ Paradox. Could you please inform us as to your understanding of each of these three topics?

            Regards the pyrgeometer error the only thing I can think of might be that a pyrgeometer is only designed to detect radiation in a certain wavelength region. Therefore since the gray-body radiation being emitted by the atmosphere at a very wide range of wavelengths is likely to not all be detected. But I doubt that that is what you are referring to.


          • Bart says:

            I don’t have any idea. But here is something on Gibbs Paradox.

      • Rob JM says:

        The source of the cold water in the deep oceans in not melting but freezing!
        When salt water freezes it ejects high density brine which sinks, the fresh water from melting icecaps is much less dense than salt water and tends to sit on top of the salt.

        As to back radiation what scale are you referring to, net energy flow between objects (where i agree with you) or quantum scale interactions (where i do not)
        GHG act as a radiative insulator, reducing the outflow of energy by a maximum of 50% in a saturated environment. The back radiation only exists on a quantum scale where thermodynamics does not apply.

        That being said the notion that GHG are solely responsible for the 33degC difference between the expected black body temp and observed temp is a joke. The equations do not take into account energy storage processes which lower energy loss and the notion that most of the difference is driven by the atmospheric density gradient(sorry wrong term) makes sense to me.

  3. Wagathon says:

    How about global warming causing oceans to increase in volume due to thermal expansion? That sounds scary. However, the oceans have been in a cooling trend for years. And, when the oceans are cooling there is no global warming (Seee.g., 44 climate models vs. climate reality in the lower troposphere). And, as oceans cool there is no thermal expansion oceans will contract. So, it’s just hot air to say we’re in danger of rising seas.

  4. Geoff wood says:

    Thank you Roy for this post. The climate models are incorrect in their portrayal of climate sensitivity to CO2. In that we agree.

  5. James says:

    This is probably a dumb question, but I don’t understand the assumptions for the models. Is the graph a combination of hindcast and projection (prediction?) for each model? If so, what is the date that the projection began for each model? Do they differ??

    I would have thought all of the models coincided with reality at some point, and that point would be the initial conditions for a hindcast and projection, but that doesn’t seem to be the case…

    Thanks for any clarification.


    • John B says:

      As far as I know, and Roy will correct me if i’m wrong, the date you are seeking in 2004. Only results after this date are true projections, before that parameters are fitted to empirical data.

    • John B says:

      I have now seen Dr Spencer suggest a date of around 2007 below (which he says he will check). My date of 2004 was based on the similar surface temperature graph which has been used in many articles recently. Perhaps the LT temperature models are slightly later, but either way it shows how bad they are.

    • John B says:

      Having now checked the source information the models were initiallised to 2005. Only results after this date are true projections, prior to that date hindcasts.

  6. Streetcred says:

    Dr Spencer, there is, of course, the fourth possibility that is not scientific … (4) Not scary enough to achieve political traction to drive the insatiable desire for funding and power. The evidence of the fourth possibility appears strongest of all.

  7. Eric Anderson says:

    Dr. Spencer, thanks for the interesting post.

    Is it possible to show when the various models were created? The reason I ask is that there seems to be rough agreement pre- oh, say, 1998, and then the models greatly diverge from observations after that time.

    So one could look at the graph and say “Well, the models were pretty close for at least the first half of the time.”

    But if the models were created in, say, the early 2000’s, then all the prior “fit” just constitutes backcasting and is not evidence of any reliability of the models.


  8. Toledo Mike says:

    I agree it would be interesting to know more about these models. Are these the 44 that are generally used by the IPCC or are there hundreds and these are just 44 which are doing particularly poorly? I of course assume my hypothetical is not correct, but am just pointing out how the lack of information might be spun. We would benefit from knowing more about these 44 models. Are these considered the most reliable ones? When did they start? (I assume different years is the answer to that question).) are there more that have for better but began at similar points?

    • Brian H says:

      My understanding, gleaned only from years of reading postings, is that there are around 20 actual modeling groups, independently programming and setting parameters and initial values (to see what effect they have). The limit on the “projections” they issue is partly funding; each run is quite expensive in computer time.

      All are “what if?” guesses.

  9. AlecM says:

    The problem is incorrect assumptions in the models. ‘Back radiation’ is the radiation field of the atmosphere derived from putting ifs apparent temperature into the S-B equation. It is not a real energy flux and for a slightly warmer surface is totally annihilated, with random thermal variation.

    To offset this imaginary energy, added to real net IR flux, these people assume Kirchhoff’s Law of Radiation applies at ToA when most of the OLR is produced deep within the atmosphere. hence 2009 Energy Budget data predict 157.5 W/m^2 heating by GHG absorption of surface IR when the real warming is much lower.

    They then offset extra temperature by using near double real low level cloud optical depth and other cooling effects based on Sagan’s faulty aerosol optical physics, which predict cloud cooling by aerosols when simple observation shows the reverse is the case.

    They also fail to account for the shift of emission to the atmospheric window and water vapour IR as CO2 increases. As for ‘Ocean Abyssal Heating’, that is equally daft: making up physics on the fly.

    All in all, their scare story has been stymied by real experimental evidence. It’s time this farrago was ended.

    The net result is to create imaginary warming and imaginary positive feedback.

    • David Socrates says:


      As with your earlier comment involving LWIR ‘back radiation’, the strength of your argument here is in danger of being reduced by imposing your view that back radiation is not a physical phenomenon. Whether or not it is best viewed that way is simply not relevant here.

      It is simply not true that Trenberth and others fail to offset the downwelling radiation figure of 333Wm-2 in their famous diagram with an upwelling radiation figure of 356Wm-2, leaving a net figure of only 23Wm-2 to do useful work.

      By all means stick to your view that only the 23Wm-2 figure is the real physical flow and that the other two figures are un-physical mathematical artefacts. But it is the net figure that is in balance with the rest of the flows in that their diagram.

      The real point is that anybody trying to model the atmosphere is bound to make their model fit past behaviour as well as making it conform to their own pre-conceptions about future waming mechanisms. If it didn’t hindcast well it simply wouldn’t be published! So it’s not at all surprising that their hindcasting is good even though their forecasting is generally rubbish, due to their incorrect hypotheses about the influence of GHGs.

      • Rob JM says:

        GCM hind casting is simply a mater of introducing a fudge factor to match the past changes.
        In this case they either use aerosols or natural cooling to account for the lack of warming under high climate sensitivity scenarios.

      • Rob Shaw says:

        Give Kiwi Kevin Trenberth some credit. I bet all of you started learning about climate science after study of his famous diagram. I think there are more like 10 science based reasons why the models are not working. 3 or 4 of them are probably partly correct and we are seeing their effect in combination. The main point is CAGW may well be finished. At the present global energy imbalance (0.5 w/m2 ??) it would take 700 years to warm the oceans up one degree.

  10. DJC says:

    Roy, I suggest it’s time for you to get the best physicists you know to join in here and debate the following with me.

    The explanation lies in the fact that the entropy conditions of the Second Law of Thermodynamics make it abundantly clear that isentropic conditions are inevitable in the state of greatest accessible entropy, as required by that law. If entropy were not uniform in a vertical sealed column of still air in a gravitational field, then work could be done. That means it would not be a state of greatest available entropy.

    The law is not really that hard to understand, Roy. Let me quote …

    “An isolated system, if not already in its state of thermodynamic equilibrium, spontaneously evolves towards it. Thermodynamic equilibrium has the greatest entropy amongst the states accessible to the system.”

    As a direct and indisputable corollary of the need for isentropic conditions we see that there must be a thermal gradient which is easily derived in two lines using Kinetic Theory, such as Einstein endorsed. (The derivation is in my paper cited in other comments.)

    This automatically means that the surface temperature would be a little warmer than at present if there were only, say, 10% of the water vapour. This is exactly what my study of tropical temperature data shows, and neither you nor anyone else has taken up the challenge to prove me wrong on that. This is probably because, when they look at the study and the raw data they cannot possibly come to any other conclusion than that water vapour has negative feedback.

    It is the radiating and absorbing properties of water vapour which work against the autonomous thermal gradient, which is induced by gravity working at the molecular level. It is not the release of latent heat that is the major reason for the less steep wet “lapse rate” but instead it is intra-molecular radiation transferring heat from lower to higher cooler layers in the troposphere.

    So, in a nutshell, gravity raises the mean surface temperature to something around 20C and then water vapour (and to a very small extent, carbon dioxide) reduce the gradient. Such a reduction cannot upset radiative balance, and so it inevitably results in lower surface temperatures in the more moist regions, and an overall mean surface temperature reduced from about 20C to about 15C. Carbon dioxide will never have a noticeable effect because any such effect would be one of net cooling, probably by less than 0.01 degree.

    The long-term (~1000 year) natural cycle is still climbing by about 0.5C per century, but not for more than another 200 years. Meanwhile the 60 year cycle peaked in 1998 and is having a compensating effect as it starts to fall until about 2028.

    Doug Cotton

    • I’m sorry, Doug, but I continue to find your line of reasoning muddled. Invoking Einstein and technical terms does not make your claims correct.

      For example, of course water vapor has a surface cooling effect, but that turns into heating when water vapor is condensed at higher altitudes, so there is no net cooling, since all evaporation must be matched by an equal amount of condensation.

      You cannot meaningfully compare desert to moist regions, even at the same latitudes, partly because there are huge energy exchanges between them. Don’t you think out of hundreds of climate scientists over the last 50 years, someone might have thought of something so obvious if it had any merit?

      • Massimo PORZIO says:

        Dr. Spencer,
        I’m not sure, but the statement “For example, of course water vapor has a surface cooling effect, but that turns into heating when water vapor is condensed at higher altitudes, so there is no net cooling, since all evaporation must be matched by an equal amount of condensation.” could be wrong, because whole the cooling come from the water which evaporate at the surface, while only half the warming during condensation is returning back, the other half escapes to the outer space.
        So, if I’m not wrong, I guess that should be a net cooling effect.

        am I wrong here?


      • jorgekafkazar says:

        Dr. Spencer: I agree about #1, but I’m confused about the thermal equality of evaporation at surface elevation vs condensation at high altitudes. Wouldn’t rising air be at a different P at higher altitudes? I believe the heat of vaporization/condensation of water differs slightly with pressure (e.g., 970 BTU/# at 14.7 psia vs 1037 BTU/# at 0.95 psia). What am I missing?

      • Norman says:


        I do not know why climate scientist have not looked into the mosit vs dry areas and it does seem obvious. I am unaware of a study done and only did mine after reading Doug’s own research. It may not mean anything but it seems to weigh in on Doug’s argument at this time about wet/dry temperature differences. This study uses the same place, the US. I provide the links I used for the study. (temperature summer months) (preciptiation summer months)

        I did a study of top 10 wettest and driest years for the last 118 years in the summer months of the the contiguous USA. I used the summer months since a wet year would have a lot of moisture in the air (winter months have dry air even with a lot of snow). The water vapor component of GH gas hypothesis would be most prevelant during summer months.

        If interested here are the results.

        Wettest: Temp Rank (coolest of the 118 years, summers)
        1) 1928 13
        2) 1915 1
        3) 1992 3
        4) 2004 16
        5) 1906 16
        6) 1993 21
        7) 1941 48
        8) 1989 51
        9) 2010 112
        10) 1958 46

        With the exception of 2010 all the wettest years had relatively cool temps and even some of the lowest temps.

        Now for the driest Temp (hottest out of 118 years, 118 is the hottest summer)
        1) 1930 87
        2) 1936 118
        3) 1980 101
        4) 1934 114
        5) 1954 91
        6) 1988 110
        7) 1918 79
        8) 1929 43
        9) 1913 57
        10) 1933 108

        From the evidence it is obvious that drier years are warmer than wetter ones (with a few exceptions).

        • Norman says:

          Note on the data I displayed, I had nice spaces between years and rank but when it posted they moved together. Now it may be much harder to see the point.

      • David Springer says:

        Yes but when the heat is released by condensation at the higher altitude there is less radiative restriction in the path to space and more radiatie restriction in the path back to the ground. Convection mechanically tranports insensible heat to a higher altitude where it can more efficiently radiate to space.

        Increased DWLIR increases the rate of evaporation and little else. This results in lapse rate feedback which is just now being found to be higher than was expected by the consensus. But it is not higher than I expected because when you’re right the observations match your expectations. The smaller lapse rate means water vapor must rise to a higher altitude before adiabatic cooling can condense it. At the higher altitude there’s less radiative resistance to space and more radiative resistance back to the ground. Greenhouse gases are two-way street. They work just as well to restrict DWLIR from a warm cloud as they do to restrict UWLIR from the surface.

        Once you integrate the notion that GHGs do very little to help retain solar heat in ocean waters into your thinking then all observations start making perfect sense. All you have to do is follow the water to figure out regional AGW effects which are largest over land and the dryer the land the more pronounced the effect.

    • Paul Dennis says:

      Doug, I suggest you pull out your copy of Feynmann’s Lectures on Physics, Volume 1 and read Chapter 40 – Principles of statistical mechanics. He deals explicitly with equilibrium in a column of air in a gravitational field. It is isothermal throughout the height of the column. In the absence of radiatively active gases Earth’s atmosphere would be isothermal. Gravity does not raise the temperature.

      Most people who think it does argue that a molecule moving upwards gains potential energy (m.g.h) and therefore loses kinetic energy and thus cools. The paradox is resolved when one notes that the temperature of a gas is determined by the mean kinetic energy of the molecules at any height. The mean kinetic energy is invariant with height.

      I don’t know Roy’s position on this.

      • Norman says:

        Paul Dennis

        I looked at the Feynmann lecture you mentioned as well as Maxwell’s book on the topic.

        The obvious is neither of there conclusions is based upon any empirical testing. They are thought experiments. They assume if temperature in a column was not at equilibrium you could use it as a source of perpetural motion. Not so the means connecting the top to the bottom is affected by the same gravitational gradient. They missed that point.

        The reason Doug seems correct is that if the top and bottom of a long column were in thermal equilibrium, that would mean the top molecules have more energy than the bottom, what mechanism would allow this? They have the same mean kinetic energy of the bottom molecules yet they also posses a lot of potential energy.

        The best way to resolve it is with real actual experiment (this one might be expensive). A thermos type insulation, to have the lowest possible loss of energy during the experiment, a few hundred meters long. Have a nice array of thermometers at different locations. Move the column in a vertical position and measure. The issue is settled one way or the other. No more need of endless debate and thought experminents. Reality prevails. Science wins the day. I think maybe if enough climate interested people would contribute a dollar or so the test could be run and we would have the answers.

        • Dr. Strangelove says:

          “if the top and bottom of a long column were in thermal equilibrium, that would mean the top molecules have more energy than the bottom, what mechanism would allow this? They have the same mean kinetic energy of the bottom molecules yet they also posses a lot of potential energy.”

          Pressure and temperature of gas depend on kinetic energy of gas molecules not potential energy. You should distinguish bulk speed and molecular speed. Take one liter of air stationary at 50C. Take another liter of air at 20C and moving at 100 kph. The former has zero bulk speed and higher molecular speed. The latter has 100 kph bulk speed and lower molecular speed.

          Pressure and temperature of gas depend on molecular speed not bulk speed. The effect of potential energy of gas is on bulk speed and bulk kinetic energy. Read the Kinetic Molecular Theory in chemistry and physics textbooks. It is well-established and proven by uncountable experiments since 19th century.

          • Norman says:

            Dr. Stangelove,

            I thnk we may be on a different page. I am describing the potential energy of molecules inside a column in a gravity field. I think you are describing the potential energy as a weather system which will cause air to accelerate between high and low pressure areas.

            In your example about temperature of a gas. If you had two gases. One not moving at 20C and another gas at 20C that was moving at 100 Kilometers/hour (meaning this air has more Total energy). What happens to the temperature of the air if you suddenly stop its motion and this energy of motion turns to heat, will not that energy of bulk motion be turned into heat?

            I think you miss my point. Doug Cotton has a theory. You and others seem to disagree. Some brilliant physicists believe he is wrong. But no one is doing any tests to prove or disprove it one way or another. Doug mentions that some actual experiments were done. The temp variation was fairly small so some may doubt the results. These experemints did show a thermal gradient in a gravity field.

            The potential energy I am talking about is the energy stored by anything above ground level in a gravity field. As an object falls in a gravity field it gains kinetic energy and loses poetential energy. The total energy does not change unless it is released to the surrounding environment.

          • Dr. Strangelove says:


            Okay I will try to explain but its best to talk to a physicist face to face. Some people mistakenly think gravity causes temp. gradient because pressure can increase temp. of gas. In a column of gas, the bottom has higher pressure because of weight of gas on top of it. Gravity causes weight hence gravity causes temp. to increase. True but given this condition: volume must be constant.

            P V = n R T

            P pressure, V volume, n no. of moles, R universal gas constant, T temperature

            This is the ideal gas equation. Note there are four independent parameters. But if you hold V and n constant, T will become a function of P. This is what some misguided people claim a new scientific revolution. Of course its true but only if you hold V and n constant. That is the case in a closed container. But in the atmosphere V is not constant. The height of the atmosphere can vary. Its like an open container.

            In the case of the atmosphere, you have three independent parameters: P, V, T
            n is fairly constant as this is proportional to total mass. Hence T is not simply a function of P. Its more complicated. Since V is unbounded, V is a function of P and T.
            P is a function of gravity, mass of the gas column, and a little of T (molecular kinetic energy). T is a function of radiative and convective energy balance.

            Despite the complicated interrelationships, the ideal gas equation holds true. Perhaps this is what confuses some people. It seems one equation is all you need to predict T. But scientists call this an equation of state. It tells you a particular state of gas but it doesnt tell you how to get from State A to State B. It doesnt provide cause and effect relationships.

            I will stop here. Read a textbook on physical chemistry to learn more.

          • David Springer says:

            Norman is correct. If the internal energy of a molecule at ground level and a molecule at altitude are not equal then work may be accomplished.

            The temperature lapse rate that we would observe in a non-convecting gravitationally confined column at equilibrium is equal and opposite to the gravitational potential energy lapse rate. Thus a mole of gas at the base of the column has the same internal energy of a mole of air at the top of the of column.

            Confusion sets in when we forget that thermometers measure kinetic energy not internal energy. Internal energy includes gravitational potential energy and it cannot be ignored.

          • Dr. Strangelove says:

            “Thus a mole of gas at the base of the column has the same internal energy of a mole of air at the top of the of column.”

            David, this is contradictory to your first statement. Yes, internal energy is the sum of kinetic and potential energies. Hence, all things equal, gas at top of column will have higher internal energy. Kinetic energy is quite independent of potential energy.

        • Tim Folkerts says:

          Norman said: ” They assume if temperature in a column was not at equilibrium you could use it as a source of perpetural motion. Not so the means connecting the top to the bottom is affected by the same gravitational gradient.”

          But the predicted gradient — the “adiabatic lapse rate” — depends on the gas: dT/dx = g / Cp. With two different gases, the effect of the gravitational field would be DIFFERENT for gases with different heat capacities. So a column of N2 and a column of CO2 would have different gradients and different temperatures at the top, so you COULD run a heat engine off the difference in temperature at the tops of the two columns.

          Norman says: “The best way to resolve it is with real actual experiment”.
          That is always the ultimate way to resolve any scientific question, but it is not always easy. In this case, the thermal conductivity of air is so low that well under 1 mW/m^2 of heating will have major impacts on the temperature gradients. This means that your experiment would have to be rule out very small heating effects in order to isolate the effect we are looking for.

          • Norman says:

            Tim Folkerts

            The idea with the different gases is interesting but the situation with the heat capacity differece would prevent the perpertual motion concept. The one with the lower heat capactiy could have a higher temp but the energy would be the same. As you started to draw of energy from the hotter one it would cool faster because it stores less energy and you would not be able to tranfer actual energy between the gases.

            On the experiment I suggested, you mention if the insulation was not good external heat could destroy the results you are looking for. You can easily test this while on the horizontal. Have a heat source on one end and a cold source on the other and see how well the insulation holds up on the air on the inside. You could get a good enough insulation at some point to prove the idea one way or the other.

            As it stands now most plantetary atmospheres seem to have a thermal gradient in a gravity field. The evidence of observation means Doug’s theory could very well be real. You have a few brilliant physicists (Maxwell, Fenynmann) who believe it would exist at thermal equilbrium. With brilliant minds without an experiment you get an expert opinion. Any opinion can be wrong. The common oppinion in Galileo’s time was that a heavy object fell faster than a light one. Galileo dropped objects to demonstrate opinion, expert or other are not the same as truth and reality. Only and actual test can determine what is the reality.

        • Dr. Strangelove says:


          I got you but you missed my point. The potential energy of air in weather system and air inside a column is the same. They are both caused by gravity. The Kinetic Molecular Theory applies to both cases.

          “What happens to the temperature of the air if you suddenly stop its motion and this energy of motion turns to heat, will not that energy of bulk motion be turned into heat?”

          It’s not always heat. Would do you stop bulk motion? If wind hits a wall, it will get deflected. It still has kinetic energy but different direction. Some energy will be lost to friction and turn to heat. It will not necessarily increase the temp. of air because this is bulk kinetic energy. Unless molecular speed increased. It might increase the temp. of the wall. But this is not the potential energy I’m talking about.

          That so-called theory is a misunderstanding of the basic kinetic molecular theory. Talk to a real physicist face to face. It’s hard to explain it in blogs. To those who really understand the subject, the error is obvious.

  11. Dr. Strangelove says:

    Dr. Spencer,

    I agree with you that the real climate is probably not as sensitive to CO2 as some models predict but I also agree with Trenberth (explanation #2).

    You argument against Trenberth:

    “if Trenberth is correct (explanation #2), then there should be a period of rapid surface warming that resumes at some point, since the climate system must eventually try to achieve radiative energy equilibrium”

    I contend that your hypothesized “period of rapid surface warming” already happened throughout the 20th century. It is only in the last 15 yrs or so that surface warming slowed down because of vertical mixing as Trenberth claims.

    You see both you and Trenberth are correct. The real climate is not very sensitive to CO2 as some models predict because the observed 20th century warming is a period of rapid surface warming. As the deep ocean comes into play to achieve radiative energy equilibrium, the atmosphere will become less sensitive to CO2.

    • John B says:

      What are you suggesting happened around the turn of the century to increase the vertical mixing? Can you suppy data to support your claim?

      • jorgekafkazar says:

        Nothing need “happen” around 2001. If “Dr. St” is correct, the system imbalance would gradually cause vertical mixing to increase until further heating is offset by convective losses.

        • John B says:

          While I agree that system imbalance could be a factor, and may be a contributing factor here, I am not convinced by any means that it is the major factor here. System imbalance in the ocean would in all likelyhood result in very gradual movement towards equilibrium in my opinion. The rate of change which has been displayed by the Graphs I have seen (assuming they are correct) clearly indicates a significant levelling of OHC just after the turn of the century.

          Obviously I am familiar with thermohaline circulation, and again that is one possible factor which could account for greater vertical mixing, but again if a speeding or alteration of the thermohaline circulation is proposed I have seen no data to support that, which could account for the fairly significant levelling of OHC around the turn of the century.

          To me it appears as if a narative is being constructed to fit the empirical data.

          • Dr. Strangelove says:

            Do you actually have data on the decadal change in speed of thermohaline circulation? If not, your guess is as good as mine. And of course a narrative is constructed to fit empirical data. The narrative is often called scientific hypothesis. But you can also construct a narrative that doesn’t fit empirical data or just imagine things without any data or fit it to the output of computer models.

          • Brian H says:

            Dr. S;
            It only qualifies as an hypothesis if it now makes some unique predictions which are verified by subsequent observation, and it gradually strengthens until no one can think of any more checks or tests. You aren’t even at test#1, so it is a speculation.

          • Rob JM says:

            John b
            The reason the OHC stopped increasing is because a 5% decrease in cloud cover from1987-2000 was what was responsible for the warming, not CO2. The OLR obs show an increase in energy loss from the earth over this time which must be caused by a shortwave forcing.
            This is why the climate sensitivities are so far out, The warming from shortwave forcing (0.9W/m2 in 13 years) was attributed to a much smaller GHG forcing.
            For a 4deg increase in temp we should have seen 2deg C warming already!

          • Dr. Strangelove says:

            Brian H,

            Does theory of Evolution give unique predictions? What new species are forthcoming in next 1,000 yrs? But it does explain past observations well. Can you offer a better explanation of sea level and atmospheric CO2 historical data? Perhaps Evolution is just speculation.

      • Dr. Strangelove says:

        @john B

        Vertical mixing is caused by thermohaline circulation, among others, which could take decades or centuries. My hypothesis that 20th century warming was absorbed at shallow ocean depth is supported by sea level rise data. Last century sea level rose 17 cm. This is four times greater than the ave. 4 cm per century sea level rise for the past 7,000 yrs.

        The ocean is a gigantic natural thermometer. (Read my post in “Trenberth’s Missing Heat”) Change in sea level is a measure of heat absorbed by the ocean causing thermal expansion of seawater. It is very unlikely the ocean absorbed four times more heat last century than past 7,000 yrs. The logical explanation is the heat was absorbed at shallow depth.

        For a given amount of heat absorbed, seawater at shallow depth will expand more than at deeper level because pressure affects the coefficient of thermal expansion. Shallow depth has lower hydrostatic pressure and higher thermal expansion. It takes a long time for heat to transfer to deep ocean by convection.

        Why in previous centuries heat was absorbed at greater depth? Because heat input was rapid in 20th century due to rapid increase in atmospheric CO2, the highest level in 100,000 yrs happened in merely 100 yrs. The heat transfer to deep ocean was lagging and now catching up.

        The good news is if my hypothesis is correct, the climate sensitivity to CO2 will be lower than observed in 20th century. Exrapolating the increase in temperature over increase in CO2 for last century gives 2.4C for doubling of CO2. Therefore, it should be less than that for 21th century.

        • John B says:

          I’m sorry, but since you were the one who raised the possibility of thermohaline circulation change being a factor in the levelling of temps I would have expected that you may have been able to provide data. If you are saying none is avalilable then it is a fairly fruitless line of inquiry since your hypothesis can not be proven/disproven without sufficient data becoming available.

          If however this is a salient factor in deciding the level of temperature increase over the next century one would have to ask if this is sufficient to justify the reordering of the worlds energy markets and the harm it will do to the poorer economies.

          • Dr. Strangelove says:

            The data available are sea level and atmospheric CO2. Construct a hypothesis that best explain the data available. That’s the scientific method. I would love to perform experiments to prove a hypothesis. Unfortunately you cannot always do that with the climate and ocean.

            Proofs are for mathematics and to some extent also for theoretical physics. But for climate science, it’s more on observations and explanations.

            BTW I’m not trying to reorder the world’s energy markets. I’m only interested in science not advocacy.

        • John B says:

          You’re on your own with that one Dr Strange because i’m not buying it. It’s going to take a lot more than that to convince me.

          • Dr. Strangelove says:

            It’s convenient to say I’m not buying anything. Sure John. It’s harder to think of explanations to observed phenomena. So what are you buying and why? Is that a better explanation or are you skeptical for the sake of skepticism?

        • David Springer says:

          There are a million confounding factors in sea level rise. Emptying of aquifers causes land to sink which to the uninformed appears as sea level rising instead of land level sinking. Rebound of the plastic continental crust losing mile-thick glacial ice causes the land under the glaciers to rise and land not under the glacier to sink. Think of a raft overloaded on one end causing that end to ride lower and the other higher. Now think having your tide guages clustered on the unburdened end.

          • Dr. Strangelove says:

            Sea level is measured in geologically stable sites. The factors you mentioned are already excluded from sea level data. This is not high school science. Geologists and oceanographers are aware of those factors.

          • African Mark says:

            Actually, David is right that the emptying of Aquifers is about 30% of the cause of ocean rise and that has not been well-considered until some papers came out a couple of years ago. By backing out that 30%, we have even less to worry about when it comes to sea level rise.

  12. Nabil Swedan says:

    44 modelers cannot be all wrong, there must be something wrong with the physics that is a common denominator to the models.

    • Wagathon says:

      … or, the methodology–i.e., the mathematics of reductionism. Anyone who believes in the scientific method cannot accept global warming alarmism based on reductionism or any other dogmatism such as substitutiing progressionism for realism.

      [T]he progression-type methods of the so-called hockey stick studies of Mann, Bradley, and Hughes [MBH] suffer from a number of problems which should have been addressed before the hockey stick was elevated to an authoritative description of the temperature history of the past 1,000 years

      The key statistical assumption of any of such methods is the uniformity of informational content in the proxies which are regressed on the climate variables (mostly temperature) Regression-type models are designed so that they return only part of the full variability of the variable of interest, namely that part which can be traced back to the proxies. Not all of the variability can be accounted for in this way. The difference in variability of temperature and of proxy-derived temperature is dealt with by scaling, i.e., by applying a suitable normalization. If scaling is used, then the basic principle of regression is violated, as the part of variability in the predictand (temperature), which can not statistically traced back to the predictor (proxy), is nevertheless related to predictor-variability. Scaling is useful, when the transfer function is not regression (screening of co-variability of two variables) but based on physical arguments The problem with MBH was that the result was presented by the IPCC and others in a manner so that one could believe a realistic description of historical temperature variations had successfully been achieved. The NRC report published in June 2006 has made clear that such a belief was incorrect. ~Dr. Hans von Storch

    • Rob JM says:

      They all assume positive water vapour feedback in the upper troposphere which doesn’t exist. (and is in violation of a host of physical laws and principles)
      They all underestimate convective cooling which is known to grow exponentially with temp but is modelled as linear
      They all ignore large natural forces such as the 5% decrease in cloud cover between 1987 and 2000 that was actually responsible for the observed warming and gives you a hard estimate for climate sensitivity (0.9W/m2 cause 0.3deg C)

      so could 44 crystal ball gazers all be wrong?

  13. Joel McDade says:

    Let me be the third to ask: When were these models run? This graphic has little meaning without knowing the hind-cast/forecast periods.

    • John B says:

      Initiallised to 2005. Prior to this date hindcasts.

      • Brian H says:

        As Joel implies, the “date run” is more significant than the nominal initialization date. The modellers at any subsequent date knew subsequent data, and bias in selection of parameters or reported results would apply up to that time.

        • John B says:

          You’re not suggesting the modellers would be anything other than paragons of virtue? Heaven forbid.

          I take your point, but a vertical line on the graph at 2005 seems to be the best we could do with the information available.

  14. As I recall (but I might be mistaken), the models were mostly frozen in their physics around 2007 or so. I will ask around about this.

  15. JeffC says:

    I would say that any model that does not closely match the observed data for 50 years leading up to the model run date is useless … If they can’t get it to match reality when they know the answer then it is useless as a future forecasting tool …

    • stephen richards says:


      My understanding, and I could be wrong, is that the modelers parametise their models to as near a correct hindcast as possible. Ie it follows the existing, past temperature record ( which has been severely manipulated ). When they are satisfied with their fiddling they then claim that their models forecast the past well and therefore must be able to forecast the future equally well. 🙁

  16. Andy Roper says:

    Is it possible that Space debris from Satellites etc could be reflecting Sunlight to any significant degree?

  17. J Williams says:

    I echo previous questions about when models were run. Also, it would be helpful to know what emissions scenario was used in the models, because that alone could explain why predictions don’t align with observations.

    • John B says:

      Assuming you refer to the CO2 emissions that would be unlikely to account for any great divergence in the model results I would have thought, because the CO2 emissions have not diverged greatly from expected levels over the last 6 – 9 years when the model runs were done.

  18. Ian says:

    An interesting post and the growing divergence suggests that the models are far too hot.

    However, I echo the request for more detail on the models which are being discussed. What part of the spaghetti graph is hindcast; what part of it is forecast? Is the “cut over point” (between hindcast/forecast) the same for each of the models shown?

    Good job, though and an interesting result.

    • David Springer says:

      The cutover point is 1990, the end date of model training period. So you’re basically looking at 23 years of model prediction vs. 23 years of reality. Clearly the models are too hot and actual temperature has slowly but surely drifted outside the lower 95% confidence bound.

      Not surprisingly to me the ensemble model did an excellent job at predicting land-only temperature in higher latitudes. That’s because there’s far less mean annual evaporation occuring over land in high latitudes. Evaporation negates GH warming. That’s because cooling partitions itself among the possible paths of conduction, convection, and radiation. The path of least resistance is where most of the cooling occurs. If there’s water available to evaporate that’s the path of least resistance. If there’s no water available then radiation is the path of least resistance. If you further restrict radiation where no evaporation is available then conduction must increase and conduction depends on a temperature difference between surface and air so the surface must get warmer. This surface WILL NOT warm so long as there is water available to evaporate instead. Over the ocean there’s ALWAYS water available to evaporate.

  19. KR says:

    From “Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere – Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences” 2006 (, the Executive Summary (authored in part by Dr. J. Christy) states:

    “On decadal and longer time scales, however, while almost all model simulations show greater warming aloft (reflecting the same physical processes that operate on the monthly and annual time scales), most observations show greater warming at the surface.

    These results could arise either because real world amplification effects on short and long time scales are controlled by different physical mechanisms, and models fail to capture such behavior; or because non-climatic influences remaining in some or all of the observed tropospheric data sets lead to biased long-term trends; or a combination of these factors. The new evidence in this Report favors the second explanation.”

    [Emphasis added]

    What has changed since these results were summarized?

  20. pochas says:

    “1) the real climate system is not as sensitive to increasing CO2 as the models are programmed to be (my preferred explanation)”

    Exactly correct. You have in the past demonstrated that the feedback from clouds / clear air convection is decidedly negative which would reduce overall sensitivity below the Planck sensitivity (if overall sensitivity has any meaning).

    Those tiresome models remind me of evolution. We have evolved considerably from the first single-celled things that could reproduce. And we still reproduce. We have copied that ability down through the eons and still have it today because it has survival value. In contrast, the climate models were invested with a dominant gene – positive water vapor feedback, and these faulty models have transmitted that defective gene through all of their iterations. If nature had anything to do with it, they would all be extinct.

    • Martin A says:

      One of climate science’s many problems is that models are evaluated by seeing how well their results compare with the results from other models – not how well they compare with reality.

    • Brian H says:

      The problem with the “evolution” analogy is that they have been shielded from real-world “survival of the fittest” filters. If only the best one or two were kept, and their offspring continued to be modified and only the best kept, they would be getting steadily better. In this case, the ones with lowest sensitivity would be ancestors of all subsequent models, a kind of Punctuated Equilibrium bottleneck event. Eventually, they would evolve more robust assumption sets, including negligible sensitivity at sub-combustion chamber temperatures, as G&T cited Schack to show years ago.

  21. DJC says:

    Nabil wrote above “there must be something wrong with the physics that is a common denominator to the models”

    Never was a truer word spoken.

    To pin point what is wrong with the (pseudo) physics used in the models …

    The MODELS TOTALLY IGNORE what Kinetic Theory and the Second Law of Thermodynamics tell us very loud and clear that an autonomous thermal gradient develops in a gravitational field at the molecular level. When extra energy is absorbed it spreads by convection in all directions over the sloping thermal plane, some going downwards to support surface temperatures, as on Venus.

    Hard cold evidence shows that moist regions are cooler than similar but dry regions. Water vapour reduces the gradient and thus the surface temperature.

    The observed fact that water vapour cools completely demolishes the pseudo physics of the greenhouse effect. The gravitational gradient causes even higher surface temperatures in dry regions, and then water vapour cools so that the mean is reduced from about 20C to 15C.

    Why is it that otherwise seemingly intelligent people have such apparent difficulty in understanding this and my paper Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures? Do you understand how the thermal gradient develops in the crust and mantle by the same mechanism? Unless you can explain Venus surface temperatures in any other valid way, I rest my case.

    Douglas J Cotton B.Sc.(Physics), B.A.(Econ) Dip.Bus.Admin
    Private researcher in atmospheric physics and author for Principia Scientific International

    • David Springer says:

      Yes but where you go off the rail is implying that gravity causes the bottom of the well to be warmer than it would be absent gravity. Gravity causes the top of the well to be colder than it would be in the absence of gravity which isn’t the same as the bottom being warmer. The colder top is due to gravitational potential energy displacing kinetic energy. Thus internal energy is constant by unit mass throughout the column. Internal energy being constant is the highest accessible entropy state. No work can be accomplished absent an internal energy gradient.

      The surface of Venus, by the way, is geothermally heated not solar or gravitationally heated. If you dig down into the earth’s crust several miles the temperature reaches that of the surface of Venus. Many kilometers of CO2 so dense it’s viscous covering the surface of Venus does the same thing that many kilometers of rock does in the earth’s crust. It’s not complicated. Venus’s surface is isothermal from pole to pole, dayside to nightside. That’s quite a trick for solar heating to accomplish especially given Venus’ day lasts for 116 earth days. Yet the dayside surface gets no warmer than the night side surface. Surface winds don’t explain it either as there are practically no surface winds at all. Venus’ troposphere is so dense it moves like ocean currents not atmospheric winds. Geothermal heating of the surface is the only plausible explanation.

  22. Brendon says:

    Do the model projections also take into account the amount of aerosols actually emitted which also affect temperature? Likewise for solar irradiance?

    How are the models tracking for OHC?

  23. Eunice says:

    Of course, there are more answers than the three.

    4. Albedo variation has increased, so the earth is receiving less input energy ( for however long ). Because reflection is anisotropic and varies, no measurements are precise or accurate enough to preclude this. Because we don’t know a quantity, we can’t assume it is constant. ( although we can’t assume it has changed, either ).
    The best estimates ( albeit from the insufficient satellites ) in the form of the CFS analysis indicates a decrease in net SW.


    5. The sensitivity is approximately accurate, but the actual forcing from CO2 is less than assumed ( net surplus into the surface partially offsets net deficit at the top of the troposphere when resonable convection is applied, energy into the oceans is ‘leakage’ across the bottom of the troposphere, Stratosphere-Troposphere exchange is ‘leakage’ of energy accross the tropopause ). The CFS data also indicates an INCREASE in outgoing LWR. Who’d a thunk it?

    • Roy Spencer says:

      you are correct, Eunice. Of course, a natural change in clouds (#4) could go either way…either masking the CO2 warming, in which case the models could have climate sensitivity correct, or causing some of the warming, in which case the models are far too sensitive.

      • Rob JM says:

        There was a 5% decrease in cloud cover between 1987 and 2000 equivalent to 0.9w/m2 and it only caused 0.3 deg C of warming.
        The world stopped warming because the clouds stopped decreasing!

  24. Chesshire Cat says:

    Dr. Spencer,

    You have forgotten, to my great surprise, another possibility for the apparent slow down in global warming, namely natural variation. This is one of your favorite arguments for why temperatures have risen for the past 30 years, and you continually deride mainstream climate scientists for not acknowledging that it could be important. If you are willing to explain 30 years of warming by non-specific natural variation, then you must also be willing to accept a much shorter slow down in robust warming as some other non-specific natural variation.

    The truth is most likely that all your possibilities are partially true. The sensitivity may be somewhat lower, more heat is going into the oceans than previously thought, aerosols are having an effect (again), and there is some natural variation.


    • John says:

      In one of Roy’s previous posts, maybe from only a day or two back, he suggested that if there is missing heat a al Trenberth, that the missing heat might be the mechanism by which natural variability occurs. Roy?

      • John says:

        Here are the relevant sentences from Roy’s post on Trenberth’s Missing Heat, see especially the last one:

        “But it also points out how global warming or cooling can occur naturally, at least theoretically, from natural chaotic variations in the ocean circulation on long time scales. Maybe Trenberth believes the speedup in the ocean circulation is due to our driving SUVs and flipping on light switches. He has already stated that more frequent El Ninos are caused by anthropogenic global warming. (Except now they are less frequent go figure).

        In some sense, natural global warming and cooling events are made possible by the fact that we live within an exceedingly thin warm surface skin of a climate system in which most of the mass (the deep ocean) is exceedingly cold. Any variations in the heat exchange between those two temperature worlds (such as during El Nino with decreased mixing, or La Nina with increased mixing) can cause large changes in our thin-skinned world. It than sense, Trenberth is helping to point out a reason why climate can change naturally.

  25. John Owens says:

    Alex M and DJC in your discussion of the energy of salt water; are you considering the 4 kilojoules of hydration energy per mole of sodium chloride that sea water contains. This energy must be removed before the sea water will freeze and is the reason that most of the deep Ocean is at 3-4C. Check this URL for additional information

    • DJC says:

      John, there is information about deep ocean temperatures and thermal gradients in the ocean in Section 14 of my paper “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures” referred to above. I am of course aware that salt water has a sub-zero freezing point, but I wonder if you are aware of the gravitational influence on thermal gradients, even in the ocean, crust and mantle.

      Doug Cotton

    • DJC says:

      Footnote: The very fact that the deep ocean is not below zero or even below its freezing point (in the absence of significant currents, such as north of Alaska) is evidence of the gravitational gradient having a propensity to warm the depths, opposing the cooling effect of ever reducing Solar radiation.

  26. ilma630 says:

    Even option #1 is not correct. There is no climate sensitivity to CO2! How can there be when CO2 cannot ‘trap’ heat (it’s a great heat transporter & like water vapour, acts to COOL the surface) & further surface heating by back radiation from CO2 is impossible (unless heat can now magically flow against a temperature gradient). Fundamentally, a cooler object cannot heat a warmer object, or have the laws of physics been re-written.

    • Rob JM says:

      Thermodynamic does not apply to quantum scale interactions!
      Back radiation occurs at the quantum scale.
      Thermodynamically it merely acts as a radiative insulator where heat still flows from warm to cold but at a slower rate!

  27. DJC says:

    Roy and all readers

    Your thought experiments about the atmosphere without GHG not radiating is completely debunked with empirical evidence in the article “Watt’s Up with the Greenhouse Effect” on the Principia Scientific International website.


    • John B says:

      Instead of the hysterics why not set up a site where the ‘confused’ can learn the true facts. Or at least link to the papers you think we all need to read.

      • DJC says:

        The site has been set up for years and now has over 200 highly qualified and experienced scientists, academics and others all of whom know the concept of a radiative greenhouse effect is nonsense. I have referred to the site many times. Roy won’t allow links to it, but you only have to search for Principia Scientific International. You’ll find my papers in the publications and PROM menus, as well as several articles I’ve contributed, among many other good ones such as the latest news article referred to above. I also have two websites of my own and a book soon to be published and widely promoted, but my paper in the PROM menu is the best starting point.

        Doug Cotton

      • DJC says:

        PS You can find my websites if you just search “Doug Cotton climate” on Google. Roy is blocking links to them too.

        • Roy Spencer says:

          I have been blocking nothing, Doug. There is an automatic limit to the number of links allowed in anyone’s post in order to prevent spam.

        • DJC says:

          Sorry – I must have blown the limit – I’ll try just two

          Here’s the latest and most relevant paper Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures Note the study in the Appendix showing moist regions have lower daily maximum and minimum temperatures, in agreement with the theory presented that deduces water vapour cools surface temperatures.

          And here’s the March 2012 paper where the climate analysis in the Appendix is very relevant to this thread. Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

          Doug Cotton

          • Dr No says:

            You have not been paying attention and are repeating yourself again. Please do some homework and answer these questions:
            Why is a foggy night warmer than a frosty night?
            Why is a cloudy night warmer than a cloud-free night?
            Why is Alice Springs colder at night during winter than the equivalent coastal point?

            And please stop resorting to hysterics.

          • Alec M says:

            A foggy night is warmer because less IR energy is emitted directly to space. Instead, the surface radiation field in those wavelengths is offset by that from the fog, reducing the heat energy loss rate. It’s the same for a cloudy night.

            Alice springs is clear sky and the Earth’s surface cools until the radiative energy transfer rate, atmosphere to surface outside the atmospheric window equals the rate in the atmospheric window to space.

            Superimposed on this is the conductive heat transfer in the local still atmosphere. I camped out by the roadside in 1967 near Alice so felt this cooling first hand – it’s simple radiative physics.

            Unfortunately most scientists use this wrongly. Many physicists imagine bodies emit streams of photons and they bounce off filled sites. Planck hated the photon concept. They only exist at the moment of energy conversion to or from the instantaneous net radiative flux density at a particular wavelength, the potential energy in the EM field.

            The underlying physics is based on the principle that the volumetric heat generation rate is the negative of the divergence of the monochromatic radiative flux density. Integrate this over all wavelengths taking account of emissivity at each wavelength and you get the S-B equation.

            Use this with an average emissivity as Houghton claimed – grey body atmosphere – and Climate Science goes horribly wrong…….

          • Rob JM says:

            Dr No
            There are other reasons than GHG, in particular the condensation of water emits a massive amount of latent heat.
            The minimum temp is actually related to the humidity. The atmosphere cools till 100% humidity is reached and the water starts giving off it’s latent heat.

  28. stevenson says:

    Dear Sir

    Writing from France. I understand that if your option 1 is correct the UAH/RSS lines are lower than the average of models (black line) But the UAH/RSS lines show no warming for the last 10 years. A weak sensitivity does not explain that. What says thou ?

  29. LearDog says:

    How does the increased mixing of CO2 just suddenly turn on (Trenberth)? Why hasn’t the physical process already been operating? Shouldn’t we have seen the mixing taking place in the buoy data? Wouldn’t there be a time lag inherent in that process?

    There is a difference between an excuse and an explanation, with Trenberth’s more the former than latter…..

  30. A Burns says:

    Trenberth also claimed that rising sea levels are “proof” of man caused global warming !

  31. Greg Goodman says:

    Dr Spencer,

    there is only one model (or model run) in that bird’s nest that is vaguely close to reality. Still a little warm but respectably close.

    could you identify what it is with enough precision for someone to find it in KNMI?

    Met Office recently produced a five year ‘median’ forecast using HadGEM3 that looks a lot closer to reality than what you have had previously.

    Is HadGEM3 represented in that graph.


  32. iya says:

    It’s enlightening to see how wrong they were when claiming that the scenarios of future CO2 emissions were the biggest unknown factor for predicting temperatures, while in fact it was one of the most simple to predict, and the results still turned out this bad.

    It would also be nice to have a monthly version, to appreciate if the models at least show correct auto-correlation and ENSO signatures, among other things. For example the coolest one (the red curve), on first glance the closest to reality, does not seem to feature any El Nio years at all…

  33. Greg Goodman says:

    “..does not seem to feature any El Nio years at all”

    Interesting observation but since no one really understands the origin of ENSO nor is able to correctly model major ocean currents, perhaps one that does not try is best.

    Hopefully Roy will identify which model this is.

  34. John Owens says:

    DJC You did not answer my question. Did you consider the Sodium Cloride hydration energy? Please look at the referenced URL.

  35. CRS, Dr.P.H. says:

    Thank you, Dr. Spencer. I still consider Svensmark’s theory regarding cloud seeding by cosmic radiation during a period of low solar activity to be a valid alternative hypothesis.

    Some, like Dr. Leif Svalgaard, discount Svensmark’s theory with a brush of the hand. However, given that cloud formation is notoriously difficult to measure, either from space or ground, I think this must be considered.

    I’d appreciate your thoughts on this alternative hypothesis and thanks!

  36. DR DON says:

    As I am oft to say, “Garbage in, garbage out!”

  37. Arno Arrak says:

    An interesting comparison. It shows how worthless these models are. But I disagree with all of the alternatives you suggest. Here they are and my objections to them:

    (1) the real climate system is not as sensitive to increasing CO2 as the models are programmed to be (my preferred explanation). You are in thinking in the right direction but you did not go far enough. Climate system is totally insensitive to changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Simple physics tells us that in order to start a sudden greenhouse warming from scratch you must simultaneously increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the air. I checked and not one sudden increase of warming within the last 100 years was accompanied by a parallel increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide. This includes warmings of 1910, 1976, 1998, and the Arctic warming of 1900. Miskolczi has also proved that greenhouse effect does not exist but you don’t need his theory to see that carbon dioxide has played no role in global warming.

    2) the extra surface heating from more CO2 has been diluted more than expected by increased mixing with cooler, deeper ocean waters (Trenberths explanation). Trenberth is an idiot. He lost eighty percent of our energy budget when the Argo floats came on line. If I had been the reviewer I would have sent him back checking the floats and learning how they operate.

    3) increased manmade aerosol pollution is causing a cooling influence, partly mitigating the manmade CO2 warming. That is a dead end explanation when all else has failed. Forget it.

    Looking at your temperature chart the one thing that stands out is that those CMIP5 people are totally ignoring the current temperature standstill and pretending it does not even exist. It exists and is clearly shown by your satellites, both UAH and RSS. Satellites are more accurate than ground-based data because they shows the transition region around the 1998 super El Nino with superior detail. I have seen ground-based data where the super El Nino is squashed down into a pancake. Small wonder that people using such data think that the 2010 El Nino is higher than the 1998 super El Nino. That includes Hansen, by the way. He also has a fantasy that 2005 was as high as 2010 and they both trumped 1998. Plus, he cheats – he used the 2010 El Nino peak to claim that there is warming still going on. To get the mean temperature of the ENSO oscillation you must average the peak temperature of an El Nino and the low temperature of the adjacent La Nina valley. The La Nina adjacent to the 2010 El Nino is the 2008 La Nina. If you put a dot in the middle of the line connecting the two it lines up perfectly with the standstill temperature level that has existed since the start of the century. I took the liberty of showing this on a copy of your temperature chart. There is no way to enclose figures here but I will get it to you by email. I actually put dots on all the lines connecting the El Nino – La Nina pairs on your chart (except for those in the transition region). This allowed me to fit a horizontal straight line to the entire twenty-first century data. There are some irregularities that I consider random noise. Higher resolution might help to smooth it some more. Furthermore, this also brings out a second standstill in the eighties and nineties I had noted already three years ago. I fitted a straight horizontal line to that segment too but the two segments do not meet. The super El Nino is between them and the warm water it brought across the ocean created a step warming. The degree of warming can be measured from the difference in height of the two horizontal levels and is approximately a third of a degree. It happened very quickly and certainly cannot be caused by any imaginary greenhouse effect.

    • DJC says:

      You say “Simple physics tells us that in order to start a sudden greenhouse warming from scratch …”

      Your physics is too simple.

      No valid physics supports the conjecture that a radiative greenhouse effect controls surface temperatures.

      A proper application of physics to the atmosphere is far more involved and must take into account gravitational fields and non-radiative heat transfers, and also make use of Kinetic Theory and consider the entropy conditions of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

      This is where and why Roy’s pseudo physics goes off the track. I suggest you and he read my paper one of these days.

  38. helder velez says:


  39. Greg Goodman says:

    helder velez says:Is it DARK TEMPERATURE ?

    I guess you mean Dark Heat, good concept. The sort of heat that we know must be there because our models of the universe say it must be three, but we can’t measure it and it does not react with matter.

    It’s not missing heat, it’s just dark heat. That’s why we can’t detect it.

    60% of the heat trapped by CO2 is also dark heat, which explains why we can’t detect it in the tropical troposphere.

    Scientists are hoping that when they get the HLC upto full power next year, they may finally detect the elusive Higgs thermon and it’s corresponding anti-particle.

    Have you thought of submitting this to a journal? You could be onto something !

  40. David Brewer says:

    Thanks Roy, and to posters for interesting (OK, sometimes infuriating!) digressions here.

    Important for me is that this is the first time I see actual data for the lower troposphere (not surface) compared with model outputs. This brings out clearly that the models are now falsified, except for a minority with low sensitivity, the error bars of which may still cover the observations.

    Roys demonstration is an important counterpoint to Grant Fosters claim that, once transitory factors are accounted for, warming is proceeding much as expected – and that all datasets agree on this. [See “Adjusted Data” graph at

    Fosters approach (i) ignores whether the rate of warming is consistent with models and (ii) lumps together surface and lower troposphere observations, which conceals the fact that model projections differ for these two altitudes.

  41. johnonomous says:

    While not wanting to question Dr Christy’s satellite data, could some of the pause in warming be due to the inability to further manipulate the first half twentieth century surface temperature record and still remain credible

  42. Thanks, Dr. Spencer, Dr. Christy,

    Good article, short, based on data (a model run is data from the model, not from Earth).

    I incline towards the first explanation for the divergence; excessive climate sensitivity in the models.
    But, even that I think is too soft for a situation where just the changes in the atmosphere are being considered to forecast the global temperature of our planet.
    Other natural causes, mainly the evolution of El Nio / La Nia come to play to determine what the temperature will be.
    Of course vulcanism will play a role, but that is even more chaotic than ENSO, the greatest energy mover in the Earth.
    I think the Sun supplies the energy, the ENSO moves it around, keeps it hidden for a while, then releases part of it and starts recharging.

  43. Wyss Yim says:

    I have been involved in identifying the trigger for the abnormally warm North Atlantic Ocean during 2012. This is best explained by the submarine eruption of the El Hierro volcano located in the western Canary Islands from October 2011 to March 2012 (see

    The temperature and rainfall pattern on both sides of the North Atlantic during 2012 is best explained by the warm ocean.

  44. Bri says:

    Are the models that are correct now always correct, it is hard to follow them through the jumble?
    If you could pick out the models that are closest to reality it would be interesting.
    I would like to point out that the NIF scientists recently went to congress to explain they had failed to ignite their tiny bead of hydrogen. The computer models for a 1mm diameter or so drop of hydrogen were completely wrong and the giant laser they built wasnt powerful enough. Now I respect all scientists and assume they are trying their best to see the truth but if the smartest Physicists we can get are that wrong about a tiny little drop of hydrogen then I am not confident that some supped up whether men can model the whole world.

    Thanks Bri

  45. don penman says:

    Science is not religion ,there is no single truth that must apply for all time.Science evolves because we have different explanations of how the world works,I get bored with your preaching here because it adds nothing that I dont already know by now.The models don’t reflect reality that is clear and the very existance of models is because some people think that rising global temperature is a problem that must be solved ,I can remember a time when nobody cared what the global temperature was.

    • John K says:

      Don Penman,

      Nobody really cares about global temperature because they cannot in fact do anything about it. Everyone cares a great deal about their pocket book. When confronted with psuedo scientific delusions designed to scare the masses into giving away their constitutionally protected property rights and their access to the world’s hydrocarbons many will passionately fight to carve their pound of flesh, or hydrocarbons and deny access to others. When society and government fail to protect the rights of their citizens a mindless Darwinian struggle for the basic material necessities of existence commences. People fight and die for commodities that in a rational civilization should only cost a few cents. Allready, ethanol subsidies and irrational government restrictions upon individual access to the world’s hydrocarbons have spurred food riots in parts of the third world. It probably won’t be long before such moronic displays result from our government if we allow irrational fear and moronic denial of fact to cause our brethren to follow political shysters that make Madoff seem like a nice guy.

      • DJC says:

        Yes Don, and the $100,000,000,000 a year promised for helping developing countries to get “clean” will undoubtedly be considered part of their humanitarian aid, not carbon dioxide aid.

        • John K says:


          Not that any of it matters. Virtually none of this phantasmic aid will ever be seen by the vast millions in need of it. Like “stimulus” spending or any of the myriad government gimics, a few well connected pols, wealthy banking (money laundering) interests and government regulatory body’s will be flush with cash while the masses line up for crumbs and confusedly scramble around trying to conjure up some method to avoid being caught in the ever increasing government net of rules and regulations that accomplish nothing in terms of environmental protection but stifle the lives subject to it’s insidious irrationality. When the environmental laws inevitably fail to accomplish their goals (Kyoto proves the point) the demented environmentalists will claim it only proves the original laws should have been tougher and more comprehensive and seek to further enslave the population. The state of scientific ignorance and delusion reminds one of a Monty Python film or Charles Mackay’s Extradordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds. Absolutely nuts,

      • John K says:

        To everyone,

        Allow me a point of clarification regarding my previous post. My claim that nobody can control global temperature refers to the generality of humans on earth presently, not the divinity or God. Thank you.

    • John K says:

      Hi Don,

      You wrote: “there is no single truth that must apply for all time.” How do you know? Was this supposedly eternal verity revealed to you in contradiction to the very statement you made? In fact, it requires enormous cognitive dissonance to make such a claim. Many truths whether scriptural or scientific withstand the test of time. Regarding scientific claims, I have yet to find anyone successfully rebut Newton’s three Laws of motion (although, admittedly the second law of motion becomes problematic at velocities approaching the speed of light , according to relativity theory), Maxwell’s equations and Pasteur’s Law of Biogenesis for example. One could no doubt find others. I wish the best for you. Have a good day.

  46. J. Murray says:

    Forgive me for this question, but has there ever been an actual study to definitively (as far as legitimate science can say definitive) connect CO2 to atmospheric temperatures? A control group where CO2 is equal to the existing atmospheric concentrations and another where the CO2 is increased, leaving all else equal?

    My perplexion comes from the planet Venus, which is 96.5% CO2 and has an average surface temperature of around 740K. Earth is around 287K. This temperature difference is 2.58 times higher. However, the atmospheric pressure on Venus is 92 bar to Earth’s 10. This creates a disconnect if we consider the ideal gas law, which while not perfect and just a rough approximation, should result in a much higher temperature on Venus than is recorded. I find it odd that a planet that is not only almost entirely CO2 and has nine times the atmospheric pressure, in addition to being closer to Sol, only has 2.58 times the temperature. I’ve noticed a problem with environmental scientists refusing to go into interdisciplinary realms to better understand changes in the environment. Is this an issue or is Venus just such a large system that the IGL doesn’t actually work for it?

    • Alec M says:

      Adiabatic lapse rate explains the Venusian atmosphere quite well. It is not global warming from CO2. That argument is countered by the transfer of CO2 IR energy into the continuum.

      It’s the same on Earth.

      • DJC says:

        You’re getting close, Alec, but not close enough. There is not sufficient direct Solar radiation reaching the surface to establish any “lapsing” due to upward convection from the surface back to space. See my paper linked in the other reply.

        • Alec M says:

          Lapse rate is a virtual work calculation, constancy of potential plus kinetic energy of the gas independently of altitude. Adiabatic dry LR is independent of the gas because Cp in g/Cp is essentially the same for GHGs and non GHGs.

          Therefore, the surface temperature is set by the ALR using as starting point the temperature of the atmospheric emission zone in radiative equilibrium with the cosmic microwave background.

          In the case of Venus, the highly dense atmosphere and slow rotation mean its surface temperature is near isothermal, even the poles.

          Because albedo ~0.9, similar to our thunderclouds and by a similar mechanism of back scattering by the sulphuric acid droplets, the surface temperature must equilibrate by lateral upper atmosphere convection to the poles which transmits to the surface by ALR.

    • DJC says:


      The Ideal Gas Law does not tell us anything about high pressure supposedly maintaining high temperatures. That is an old wives ‘ tale circulated in the climatology circles – just like the old greenhouse tale.

      There is a comprehensive explanation of how the required energy gets into the surface of Venus in my February 2013 paper Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures which is still open to worldwide review or criticism by anyone. So far no one has succeeded in demonstrating any error in the physics explained therein. And of course it has nothing to do with any greenhouse conjecture.

      Doug Cotton

      • J. Murray says:

        Thanks for the reply.

        The one thing the paper does tell me is that climatologists tend to place themselves in a bubble. An interesting chart I ran across was a deviation from the standard day, which shows that a “day” isn’t a constant like is normally thought of, but is variable from year to year. The Earth’s rotational speed has been slowing year by year over the same period of the recorded temperature increases. The day has become 25 seconds longer since 1960 with the rotation stabilizing somewhat over the past 13 years. The annual rotational slowing correlates fairly well with the annual increase in temperatures. Of course, there’s still a causation factor to determine if the slowing rotation is leading to higher temperatures or the temperatures are changing the atmospheric makeup, slowing the rotation.

        Then there are other factors, such as the changes in the Earth’s rotational axis angle, which was recently impacted by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which could potentially explain why the Arctic ice is melting quicker but the Antarctic is experiencing colder winters. Or changes in the Earth’s orbital eccentricity identified in the Milankovitch cycle. Or solar cycles.

        The aspect that I don’t particularly like about climatologists and the whole AGW debate is not only the failure to account for all variables from other disciplines, like your physics angle, but also the attitude that humanity is the big fish in the universal pond. There’s just too much to consider before we can actively state that CO2 is even a problem.

        Besides, humans are potentially SAVING life on Earth by releasing all the trapped CO2. There isn’t a natural function to release all the trapped CO2 that originated from the atmosphere and was trapped by plant and animal life over millions of years. We could very well be staving off a life-ending super oxygenation event, a repeat of a similar event that happened over a billion years ago.

  47. “On the other hand, if Trenberth is correct (explanation #2), then there should be a period of rapid surface warming that resumes at some point, since the climate system must eventually try to achieve radiative energy equilibrium. Of course, exactly when that might be is unknown. ”

    I am glad you noted this.
    I came to the same (startling) realization.
    The Dr. Trenberth model-hypothesis (deep ocean ,long period, surface cooling turbulence/upwelling) requires that the surface temp “zoom” back up to the LINEAR EXTENSION of the 1980-2000 global temperature line on some quasi cyclical basis!
    [In fact even higher since he now believes 4 C per co2 doubling is most likely]. This will require short bursts
    of warming equivalent to 6 C per doubling or more.

    This is quite a prediction and a good test that should be kept in mind.
    [although I would not be surprised if the earth is going through a natural century long (1910-2000)warming period equivalent to a 3 C per doubling slope…the flat period from 1945-1975 could be do to the sharp ramp-up of “cooling” aerosols during that period. Otherwise the global temp could have been a nearly single slope line from 1910-2000…an interesting hypothesis at any rate]

    • Alec M says:

      Sagan’s aerosol optical physics used in the climate models to predict ‘aerosol cooling’ is wrong. It’s very easy to prove just by looking at a few clouds. For those educated in Climate Alchemy, this is called ‘Doing an Experiment’!

      As the droplets coarsen, clouds allow less light through. This is because there is a second optical process, most obvious for thunderclouds which can have an albedo of ~0.9, the same as the Venusian atmosphere because of the sulphuric acid droplets.

      Sagan got that wrong too. It’s because he inherited van der Hulst’s empirical droplet size – optical depth normalisation and imagined this represented a single physical process – there are two, with the darkest clouds having the largest droplets.

      Therefore the ‘aerosol cooling’, the reduction of droplet coarsening kinetics, is really warming, the true AGW.

      • mike says:

        It is doubtful that subject is as simple or definite as you seem to claim (not that i could follow your argument). But the coincidence of the extreme rampup(followed by “flat”) of aerosol emmissions(especially sulfer)and the extreme rampdown of global average temps from 1945-1975 is at least interesting and reasonably definite, as are the “coincidental” relations between volcanoes and short term global cooling.

  48. don penman says:

    John K
    I am not forced to accept that anything is true and I can challenge any theory that I want,this is science not religion.What science has survived and how it has been changed is not important here only that that some are saying we must not challenge certain things that they believe to be true such as a particular understanding of the laws of thermodynamics.Those who think that AGW is right also feel that nobody should have the right to challenge there truths.

  49. John K says:

    Don Penman,

    Who said anything about forcing you to accept anything as true? Your boast that there is no single truth that must apply for all time self-refutes since your own boast claims to apply for “all time.” You may live in perpetual denial of your own claims for all I care, but it won’t help you. You point out that some say we must not challenge certain things they believe to be true such as a particular understanding of the laws of thermodynamics and the supposed truth of AGW. Glad to see that you partially understand the dilemma many face. Read my posts above. What makes you think many of the AGW proponents actually believe their own claims and projections? History records any number of civilizations including our own at times go mad and chase after lies, delusions or both. Please enjoy a few H L Mencken and G K Chesteron quotes below. They describe this very dilemma perfectly.

    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
    H L Mencken

    For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple and wrong.
    H L Mencken

    The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out…without regard to the prevailing superstitions and taboos. Almost inevitably he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane, intolerable.
    H L Mencken

    The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.
    H L Mencken

    The people who are the most bigoted are the people who have no convictions at all.
    G K Chesterton

    Men feel that cruelty to the poor is a kind of cruelty to animals. They never feel that it is an injustice to equals; nay it is treachery to comrades.
    G K Chesterton

    Children are innocent and love justice, while most adults are wicked and prefer mercy.
    G K Chesterton

  50. don penman says:

    John k
    “Science is not religion ,there is no single truth that must apply for all time.”
    This is what I actually said there is a difference between reading the bible and reading a book on thermodynamics.I don’t know how you turn that into a boast but I cannot explain any clearer now.

    • John K says:

      Hi Don,

      Thanks for your response. Allow me to apologize that my last post failed to clarify my critique. The first part of your statement correctly states “science is not religion.” I take no issue with that statement and as a result did not re-state it. Science and religion represent two different pursuits. However, you should know the scientific/socratic method derives from the ancient Greeks and never purported to claim the non-existence of eternal truths that must apply for all time. In fact Socrates, Aristotle, Plato and others would all have understood and asserted formal axioms believed to be universally true and necessary to understand anything. Plato and Aristotle claimed the existence of a “prime mover” and Aristotle demonstrated the universe to be finite. The fact remains science and reason depend on the unvarying truths of basic axioms such as the LAW OF IDENTITY, sometimes referred to as the LAW OF NON-CONTRADICTION. The law states that a thing cannot both exist and not exist at the same time, or alternatively a thing cannot be both itself and not itself at the same time. Your school teachers may have told you that a statement cannot be both true and false at the same time. Some state the principal formally as A=A.

      Your stated clause that “there is no single truth that must apply for all time violates the LAW OF NON-CONTRADICTION. The statement contradicts itself. If we assume your statement is true that “there is no single truth that must apply for all time” then it must apply for all time and contradict this very same statement you made and we assumed to be true. Such statements as “I Know that I know nothing” or “the fact is facts do not exist” or “the truth is there is no truth” may seem deep to the confused but mean nothing. Such statements as well your stated clause prove themselves false.

      I do not claim that the bible and a textbook on thermodynamics to be the same thing. The problem with your statement that I quoted above exists within the statement itself not me.

      Thank you for your patience. Let me know if I’ve made myself clear. Have a great day!

      • John K says:

        Minor corrections to my post above.

        “Some state the principal formally as A=A” should read “some state the principal formulaically as A=A.

        “Such statements as well your stated clause prove themselves false” should read “Such statements as well as your stated clause prove themselves false.”

    • John K says:

      Hi Don,

      Please bare with me one further point of clarification. Your statement asserts as true for all time that there is no single truth that must apply for all time. Honestly, say that even to a toddler. You should all have a great laugh.

      You should have a great day. At least something to laugh at.

  51. Max says:

    “A foggy night is warmer because less IR energy is emitted directly to space. Instead, the surface radiation field in those wavelengths is offset by that from the fog, reducing the heat energy loss rate. Its the same for a cloudy night.” ~Alec M

    Hmmm, if that is the case, then what happened to the latent heat of evaporation as fog droplets condense?

    • DJC says:

      Actual data confirms that water vapour cools, with moist regions having lower daily maximum and minimum temperatures. The physics explaining this, and the study confirming what really does happen is all in my paper.

      So far no one in the world has been able to put up a valid study demonstrating any positive feedback for water vapour, in contrast to my study, currently being extended to many more cities, but not appearing to be leading to any different conclusion.

      When is climatology going to base their conjectures on real world data – or reject them when such data is clearly indicating the error in their assumptions?

      Yes, I’m throwing down the gauntlet. Anyone who has read my paper including the study in the Appendix come on here and debate with me anything you think to be in error.

      Doug Cotton

      • DJC says:

        Alec, Roy and anyone

        What controls surface temperatures, as well as those in the crust and mantle, is non-radiative “heat creep” as explained in my paper Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures.”

        Those who choose not to read it will remain in the dark with their misconceptions that it is all about radiative imbalance. It’s not, because if it were, water vapour would warm. But it doesn’t – it cools.

        That’s why I’m throwing down the gauntlet to anyone in the world to prove my paper wrong.

        Doug Cotton

    • Alec M says:

      The latent heat does emerge but the whole issue with clouds and fogs is that what the Meteorologists call ‘back radiation’ is a far more subtle concept.

      It is the reduction of radiative energy transfer rate because instead of the AW allowing the surface to equilibrate with the Cosmic Microwave Background, it does so with the radiation field in the AW of the cloud or fog, hence less net energy flux.

      • Max says:

        Well, I’m pretty sure you can explain the temperature differences between dry and wet nights/locations as resulting from the latent heat of evaporation, without introducing any sort of back radiation effect whatsoever.

  52. Alec M says:

    Assume 0.3 molar% H2O precipitates (100% RH at 15 C to 10 C). That is an enthalpy shift to sensible heat of 40 kJ/mol x 0.003 = 0.12 kJ/mol. Assuming Cp for air ~30 J/mol, delta T = 120/30 = 4 C.

    This is a real temperature change once the fog is nucleated. It generates a temperature inversion and it significantly reduces heat loss by radiation from the ground. I have seen it happen.

    Do the sums and the radiative loss to the AW falls from ~100 W/m^2 from the ground to ~30 W/m^2. However the top surface of the fog cools at ~70 W/m^2 in the AW. Assume this is 10 m thick and cools uniformly, it slows the rate of cooling of the ground significantly, until the moisture condenses out as frost.

    During that time the radiative heat loss in the AW of the ground is ~1/3rd of the rate without the fog. We’re both right!

  53. Nigel Duke says:

    Perhaps there is a fourth possibility, namely that the reduced activity of the sun is offsetting the CO2 greenhouse effect. Clearly this solar cycle is much less intense than the previous one which was already lower than the previous. Are we heading for a Maunder minimum ? Apart from direct radiation, the sun probably has indirect effects on cloud cover via its cosmic ray shielding role. A combined impact of a lower CO2 sensitivity and a cyclical decline in sun activity could mean no further significant warming until the middle of the century. Much more research is needed on the role of the sun, eg Cloud experiment at CERN.

    • DJC says:

      To Roy and all readers

      You are all fumbling in the dark because you refuse to think outside the square of radiation, radiation, radiation.

      What radiation does do is reduce the thermal gradient as water vapour (add carbon dioxide etc) set up intra-molecular radiation in the atmosphere. We know the tropospheric thermal gradient is less steep in moist regions. It is not just due to latent heat release, because the same process of intra-molecular radiation also reduces the thermal gradient in the outer crust for example, where observations confirm what I am saying.

      What is this intra-molecular radiation reducing the gradient from? What made it such a steep thermal gradient in the first place? Why does it also exist on Venus where the Sun could not possibly heat the surface directly and set up some upward convection, supposedly the cause of some badly named “lapse” rate?

      The thermal gradient in the atmosphere, crust and mantle has nothing to do with any “lapsing” process. You know where to find out what causes it, but you refuse to read a mere 20 pages of detailed, sound explanation and solid empirical evidence. WATER VAPOUR COOLS!

      • Alec M says:

        You do not need solar radiation at the surface of Venus to give lapse rate control of temperature gradient.

        Water vapour controls diurnal temperature range by giving and receiving latent heat.

  54. gallopingcamel says:

    Models can be useful but most of the models shown above are beyond inept.

    The modelers tweak their minor variables until the “Backcast” roughly approximates to past measurements. Then they run the projections forward and find the blade of a Hockey Stick rising relentlessly as indeed it should if CO2 was indeed the “Control Knob” for global climate.

    The modelers will never accept the idea CO2 is at best a minor contributor to global temperature. It will not matter what they think once taxpayers wise up and pull their funding.

    • John K says:

      When and if they choose to do. Unfortunately, history proves men will chase after a lie to the bitter end before finally wising up and altering their opinion or finally dying fully deluded. Just look at the Nazi’s, communism, the belief in virgin sacrifices or the many recorded myths throughout time. U.S. citizens currently practice child murder by the millions, believe for some bizarre reason in the value of an unsupported dollar that looses purchasing power every year, tax themselves at ever higher levels for ever decreasing government services and make interest payments for ever increasing debt, repeatedly spend enormous sums of money and sacrifice their children to fight wars to save people they don’t know in other lands while simultaneously subsidizing the very people their fighting (i.e. the Taliban). Has anyone wised up yet.

      Charles Mackay said it well in Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds: “It was once thought a venial offense, in very many countries of Europe to destroy an enemy by slow poison. Persons who would have revolted at the idea of stabbing a man to the heart, drugged his potage without scruple. Ladies of gentle birth and manners caught the contagion of murder, until poisoning under their auspices, became quite fashionable…Men it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”

      Already, as I mentioned in previous posts, climate regulations have spurred food riots in third world countries. I’ve read of Africans forcibly removed from their lands due to U.N. climate change policy. Our own country irrationally forces us to buy products viewed as energy efficient by arbitrary government officials. The government forces gas mileage rules that reduce the amount of steel in our cars massively increasing highway fatalities. The bloodshed and irrationality will continue for many until it kills them. Climate “experts” seek to prevent alternative views from even being allowed to be discussed. Whatever our country now claims to be a Constitutional Republic cannot be it. When do you think the country will wake up?

  55. gallopingcamel says:

    DJC says: April 20, 2013 at 4:05 PM

    You are right to doubt the relevance of radiative heat transfer to planetary tropospheres. Radiation is just one of several heat transfer processes that ensure temperature will decline in a linear fashion with altitude as ordained by thermodynamics and gravity. This temperature gradient is known as the adiabatic lapse rate and its theoretical derivation is taught in high schools throughout the world.

    You ask:
    “Why does it also exist on Venus where the Sun could not possibly heat the surface directly and set up some upward convection…”

    The laws of thermodynamics and gravity apply on Venus as they do everywhere. In the late 1960s, Carl Sagan correctly estimated the surface temperature of Venus using thermodynamics even though at the time he was not sure whether Nitrogen or CO2 was the major component of the Venusian atmosphere (it does’nt make much difference).
    (Click on: “Send pdf”)

    It is beyond obvious that the radiative properties of any gas in the Venusian atmosphere has no effect whatsoever on the surface temperature of Venus because the planet has 100% cloud cover. Hansen’s “Runaway Greenhouse Effect” on Venus is a silly fairy story designed to frighten children. What matters is the mass of the atmosphere which defines the surface pressure and the depth of the troposphere (~65 km in the case of Venus).

    You mention Doug Cotton’s paper. Mostly I agree with him. Here is a link to my comments:

    • DJC says:


      You are almost there regarding Venus, but you have not explained the actual mechanism whereby thermal energy absorbed from incident Solar radiation then enters the Venus surface in sufficient quantities to maintain the observed temperatures. Note that maintaining high pressure does not maintain high temperatures, so leave pressure out of it. Yes, gravity sets up the thermal gradient. Then intra-molecular radiation (sending heat upwards) works against the gravity gradient, reducing it by between about 10% and 35% – as with water vapour on Earth. But how exactly does the energy transfer to the surface?

      Have a good think about it before you look up my explanation of “heat creep” in my paper Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures.

      Doug Cotton

  56. Max says:

    Heating the atmosphere at the top of a column with a given lapse rate should cause the top of the column to expand, as the gases rise, the layers beneath continue rotating and new layers start to rise, deflecting the previously warmed gases as they cool and sink.

    This results in an increase of potential energy relative to other parcels with similar kinetic energy, and as you lower a parcel to the surface the potential energy is exchanged for kinetic energy, warming the surface from the top down.

    An expected result of this would be a high altitude hot-spot on the night side of the planet, which was found by ESA:

    ” The temperature inversion, as the layer of warm air is called, was detected in several stellar occultations performed on the night-time side of the planet. The only thing that can heat the atmosphere here is when pockets of gas sink back down into the denser atmosphere. The increased air pressure squeezes the pockets, raising the temperature of the gas inside (similar to what happens when you activate a bicycle pump).” ~ESA

    • DJC says:

      It doesn’t work with “pockets” of gas moving up and down in the Venus atmosphere, because the net gain in potential energy would be nil and there is not enough Solar energy reaching the surface to trigger such upward convection. Expansion does not cause cooling, and nor does compression cause warming to the extent observed on Venus. The temperature inversion above the tropopause is just like in Earth’s atmosphere and is due to absorption of incident radiation at a rate which is faster than that by which the extra energy can be dispersed at the molecular level by diffusion of kinetic energy.

      There is a subtle difference in what I have described as “heat creep” which amounts to convection-like processes spreading out in all directions from a new source of heat (such as when night becomes day) but maintaining isentropic conditions in the process – all at the molecular level under the influence of gravity, and all restrained by the sloping thermal plane which is necessitated by the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

      For more detail with diagrams just Google “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures” Cotton and read my February 2013 paper.

      Doug Cotton

    • DJC says:

      Why high pressure does not maintain high temperatures

      Your comment about the bicycle pump is another classic “old wives’ tale” circulated by climatologists. The only reason the tyre gets temporarily a little warmer is because the energy you supply causes friction between molecules and the walls of the tube. As you must know, the tyre soon cools off again to the outside ambient temperature, whilst retaining nearly all of the additional pressure.

      This is because temperature is an independent variable which is proportional to the mean kinetic energy of the molecules, and not a function of anything else. In contrast, pressure is proportional to the product of that mean kinetic energy and the density of molecules.

      But this does not imply that the density of molecules affects temperature. You can only raise the temperature of a given number of molecules with a net addition of thermal (kinetic) energy. Not only do “pockets” of air or gas not hold together for very long, but any adiabatic movement is not adding net energy. All it can do is convert potential energy to or from kinetic energy, which will have an effect on temperature, yes, but not on mean temperatures, because mean potential energy in an atmosphere is fairly constant. Hence, it is only the Sun which adds new energy, and you need to consider how that energy then gets into the planetary surface, crust, mantle and, believe it or not, even the core. This is explained in my paper “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures.”

  57. Max says:

    Wasn’t my comment about bicycle pumps, it was the ESA… and they’re a bit more credible than you, not offense, but note that I’m also arguing that Venus is hot because of the sheer mass of the atmosphere, not because of a greenhouse effect.

    • DJC says:

      Standard physics that I use is obviously more credible than the pseudo physics pumped out by the ESA then. Have you never heard of Kinetic Theory, as used by Einstein, and the Ideal Gas Law which can be derived from such?

      The temperature of the Venus surface has to do with the height of the troposphere, yes, as my paper makes quite clear, but it would not matter what the density is, or what the mass and pressure at the base are because that is not one of the parameters used to determine planetary surface temperatures. Now read the paper and stop wasting my time.

  58. Max says:

    I don’t take orders from you, bub, open your eyes and actually read my post and see why attacking me is silly so we can both stop wasting time perhaps?

    • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

      But you are incorrect, Max, in saying “Venus is hot because of the sheer mass of the atmosphere” because that implies that it is all to do with the pressure caused by that mass. It is not, despite what ESA or anyone else says – they are all contradicting standard physics.

      It has to do with the height of the troposphere in particular. The only vague connection is that the height of the atmosphere has something to do with the mass, and the force of gravity (which sets the “dry” thermal gradient) also causes pressure.

      That thermal gradient is merely the negative quotient of the acceleration due to gravity g and the mean specific heat Cp. There is no mass or pressure coming into that quotient.

      The thermal gradients in atmospheres, crusts and mantles are all maintained at the molecular level as potential energy and kinetic energy interchange whilst maintaining isentropic conditions at all levels (in calm conditions) so as to comply with the entropy conditions of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The process does not require mass air movement as in convection.

      The height of the atmosphere simply means that there is a longer “run” for the temperature to climb (by the process of heat creep) to higher values at the surface. In the same way, it keeps climbing in planetary crusts and mantles, as thermal energy from the Sun penetrates by the same heat creep process, with the gradient of the underground thermal plane also following the same quotient -g/Cp though there is always a reduction in the magnitude of the gradient due to intra-molecular radiation.

  59. Stephen Wilde says:

    Mass, gravity and insolation determine temperature, nothing else.

    Any other factors only affect circulation changes which serve to offset the effect of any other factors.

    • DJC says:

      Your tyre does not stay hot just because it is at higher pressure. In fact, if you pump much colder air into it then it will get cooler.

    • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

      Nope. The height of the troposphere (not its mass), the acceleration due to gravity, the mean specific heat (which you left out altogether) and effective insolation (after adjustment for variation in albedo) do so.

    • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

      Intra-molecular radiation between water and water vapour molecules (and to a very small extent, carbon dioxide et al) reduces the thermal gradient, so that the intersection of the tropospheric thermal plot at the surface is at lower temperatures than it would have been if, say, there were only 10% as much water vapour everywhere.

      In fact we can observe this, because there are regions where water vapour levels are in fact only about 10% of those in more moist regions. And indeed we do find that such dry regions have higher mean maximum and minimum daily temperatures, so water vapour cools mean temperatures from probably about 20C back to the observed 14C or 15C mean.

      Now, just suppose water vapour were really warming (as the IPCC supposes) then we should be able to observe great variations in the amount of warming in different regions. If the mean warming were 30C, then maybe some dry regions should only be warmed about 10C or 15C whilst moist regions should be warmed by perhaps 40C or more. Has anyone noticed this? Of course not, because the gravity effect accounts for about 35C to 40C of warming and then water vapour cools a little.

      How could the IPCC propagate such rubbish about water vapour having a warming effect (positive feedback) when no such dramatic variations are observed and, in fact, only a cooling effect is observed in the real world?

      Over to you, Roy, to answer this as you must be among the last of us not to reject the greenhouse effect altogether.

  60. Stephen Wilde says:

    Max said:

    “This results in an increase of potential energy relative to other parcels with similar kinetic energy, and as you lower a parcel to the surface the potential energy is exchanged for kinetic energy, warming the surface from the top down.”


    See here:

    and be sure to read the full essay by following the link.

    Unfortunately Doug (in my humble opinion) gets it wrong by relying on diffusion/conduction rather than adiabatic decompression and compression.

    • DJC says:

      There is no physics which says that decompression causes cooling. If you have cool air in a tyre and you let it out into warmer ambient temperatures it will get warmer as it decompresses.

      • Stephen Wilde says:

        I think it is common knowledge that the atmospheric pressure gradient with height result in the expansion of rising air and consequent cooling.

        The cooling results from more of the available KE being converted to PE as the air parcel gains height.

        The net global effect of all rising and all falling is of course zero but nonetheless the process involves creation of a large energy store in the form of PE that is constantly recycled between surface and top of atmosphere.

        If one then alters the speed of the process that can provide a method whereby disruption of the temperature set by mass, gravity and insolation can be prevented.

        If anything other than mass, gravity or insolation tries to change the temperature then all that is necessary for stability to be retained is for the amount of rising and falling to change so as to adjust the speed at which energy flows through the system.

        The bicycle pump analogy is not appropriate.

        Glad to hear that your operation worked out 🙂

        • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

          Something else does change the (surface) temperature. Inter-molecular radiation between (mostly) water vapour molecules reduces the thermal gradient (as is well known) and so the thermal plot intersects the surface at cooler temperatures in more moist areas. I have shown empirical evidence of this in a study in the Appendix of Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures.

          I agree that rising air in calm adiabatic conditions cools but this is solely because of the influence of gravity. It has nothing to do with expansion. It would happen without expansion, and in happens in still air in a sealed cylinder which obviously does not expand. You cannot prove from the Ideal Gas Law that expansion must cause cooling. There is absolutely no valid physics supporting this “old wives’ tale” of climatology. Show me your computational proof (if you can) and I will pin point where you go wrong. Until you do so, I suggest you cease making assertive statements that you cannot support with valid physics.

          • Stephen Wilde says:

            As a gas expands, the average distance between molecules grows. Because of intermolecular attractive forces (see Van der Waals force), expansion causes an increase in the potential energy of the gas. The increase in potential energy thus implies a decrease in kinetic energy and therefore in temperature.

  61. Ian Turnbull says:

    Dr. Spencer,

    Thanks for posting this–very interesting. I’m not sure your comment about the 1992-93 Pinatubo effect is completely valid–you are correct some of the 44 models do show higher sensitivity and send the temperature several tenths of a degree lower than the satellite observations, however the model mean seems to be very close to the obs. Or, is this just an artifact of some of the models starting out higher before the 92-93 dip?


    • John B says:

      You appear to have missed the point made above that the models ONLY FORECAST AFTER 2005. Prior to that date the parameters have been set to reflect empirical data.

      • Ian Turnbull says:

        You appear to have missed the point of my post John. My comment/question has nothing to do with when the models start forecasting. Of course the models would be in hindcast mode back in the early 1990s. I’m just noting that those model hindcasts from 1992-1993 come out to around the observations if we consider the model mean, but the mean may not reveal the finer details of which models may be close to the observations, which ones are too sensitive, or if any are too high altogether.

        My post reflects my reading of Dr. Spencer’s blog post–I do not have time to plow through hundreds of people’s comments to find one of your comments. Also, I can read words not written in all caps just fine.


        • Scott says:

          Hi Ian,

          I agree that the 92-93 model mean (which is obviously hindcast) agrees well with the observations from that time period. But I believe that Roy is still right about the sensitivity being too high because the magnitude of the dip resulting from Pinatubo is still too large. How? Because the several years both before and after the years affected by the eruption are significantly overpredicted. You correctly mention that the “baseline” was high before the eruption, and it’s true for after the eruption too (once one gets to 1996 and later), so the magnitude of the peak/dip is considerably overpredicted in the model.

          Doing some pixel counting, it looks like the models are overpredicting temps by ~0.17 C in 1990 (little less in 91, considerably more in 89). They then ~match observations in 92. In 96 (and 97), the models overpredict by ~0.23 C. Considering the observations have 92 as ~0.25 C lower than 90 & 96, whereas the models have 92 at ~0.42 and ~0.48 C lower than 90 & 96, respectively, I’d say the models are showing a sensitivity of the lower troposphere to the Pinatubo volcanic eruption ~1.8x higher than the data indicate.

          Clearly those numbers are just ballpark off of single year. One might get better numbers using average numbers for 89-91 as “pre-eruption”, 92-93 as “peak eruption”, and 95-97 as “post eruption”…but the numbers would largely come out the same. Unfortunately the models seem to do an even poorer job with ENSO effects than with vulcanism, so we can’t really look at the El Chicon eruption as a comparision.

          For reference, the models overshot reality by ~0.55 C in 2012. I’m not sure when they were run, but even if they were run in the late 90’s (as opposed to the mid-2000s), that’s not a very good projection.

          Anyone know if the models assume some sort of volcanic activity projecting into the future? If they assume volcanoes and they get lumped into the average, then the projection is even worse than the numbers and graph would indicate.


          • Ian Turnbull says:

            Hi Scott,

            I think you’re correct; upon very close inspection (it’s hard to analyze the plot so closely with so many overlapping lines), it does appear the model mean being so close to the obs is probably from some of the models starting out too high, but still portraying swings in temperature that are much larger than the obs. If you look at the red line model which is on the lowest end of projections looking out to 2015-2025, and trace it back in time, it seems to be the closest to the obs through time, however it’s “Pinatubo dip” happens too early in 1991. I wouldn’t put too much confidence in one model alone, but it’s interesting that what appears to be the lowest-sensitivity model seems to match the obs the best overall.


  62. DJC says:

    Consider a lake representing the atmosphere. Gravity shapes the surface of the lake which follows the curvature of the Earth. Likewise gravity shapes the sloping thermal plane in the atmosphere, but intra-molecular radiation has a levelling effect and thus works against the sloping “gravity” thermal gradient. None of this has anything to do with any lapsing process. Water vapour reduces the gradient (as is well known) as it radiates heat upwards to cooler regions in the troposphere, and also absorbs more incident radiation at higher altitudes than at lower ones. This is the real reason for the “wet adiabatic lapse rate” being less steep – not the release of latent heat which can have little effect on the overall gradient in the troposphere, because it does not happen much near the tropopause – so the latent heat argument is just another climatology old wives’ tale. Besides, we can observe the effect of intra-molecular radiation also reducing the thermal gradient in the outer crust – as borehole measurements indicate. There’s no convection in the solid crust only conduction which is the equivalent of diffusion in a gas.

    Now, when night turns to day it is like a rain storm falling on the lake, with heavier rain on one side, just as there is more incident radiation absorbed near the top of the troposphere and in the clouds. NASA says 16% is absorbed by the atmosphere and 3% by the clouds. The total of 19% exceeds the 15% which they say is absorbed on the way back up from the surface. So this is another reason why water vapour and GHG’s have a net cooling effect.

    Now the rain on the lake spreads out in all directions and gravity has a levelling effect pulling the surface back into the shape of the curvature of the Earth. But the level of the lake at the shore will increase. And so it is with extra heat absorbed anywhere in the atmosphere. It will be spread out by gravity over the sloping thermal plane, and thus cause the surface temperature to rise. The underlying thermal plane has been established by diffusion of kinetic energy at the molecular level over the course of many years. The temporary additional energy is spread by convection in all directions away from its source. The warming and cooling required as this energy travels in different directions is caused by the effect of gravity and has nothing to do with expansion or compression.

    This process of “heat creep” explains how sufficient energy gets into the surface of Venus, but it also explains how Earth’s surface reaches the temperature that it does, because of the supporting mechanism of the underlying thermal plane. This allows the Sun to heat the surface more due to a ratchet effect. But all the heating and cooling at the surface is merely a daily effect and a marginal effect at that. Sure water vapour slows the radiative cooling and extends the warmth of the day into the night. But its dominating effect is to reduce the mean temperatures (both maximum and minimum) by a few degrees, as is observed in real world data such as in the study in the Appendix of “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures.”

  63. tonyM says:

    To DJC:

    Hello Doug,
    Welcome back and glad your op was obviously successful as you have come back as strong as ever :).

    We don’t always agree so here is another one for you. You have use the term INTRA-molecular which means within the molecule a few times. I think your really mean to say INTER-molecular.

    • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

      OK – I agree that most of it would be inter-molecular radiation and I should have stated such.

  64. Max says:

    “It has to do with the height of the troposphere in particular. The only vague connection is that the height of the atmosphere has something to do with the mass, and the force of gravity (which sets the dry thermal gradient) also causes pressure.” ~DJC

    If you had two atmospheres with different masses but the same composition, receiving the same insolation, around a planet with the same mass/rotation/gravity, the more massive atmosphere will have a higher tropopause, will it not?

    You’re essentially saying “mass doesn’t really matter if you say it your way, Max, but it does matter if I say it my way”, aren’t you?

    • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

      Yes, but you are “creating” proportionality between mass and tropospheric height by artificially holding other factors constant. This is similar to what climatologists do when they “fiddle” with the ideal gas law. That law only tells us that pressure is proportional to the product of temperature and density. You cannot artificially turn density into a constant and “deduce” that pressure is proportional to temperature. The reality is that temperature is an independent variable determined only by net variations in mean molecular kinetic energy. What happens in planetary atmospheres is as described in my paper and this comment above. If you wish to debate the content of my paper or that comment, then be the first to do so.

      • TonyB says:


        Can I ask you a question regarding air and ground temperatures overnight in both radiating and non radiating conditions. I am a retired Meteorologist ( practical/forecasting not research based ). I have spent many a long twilight hour observing these effects at remote airfields.
        What do you consider would happen in a situation of a strongly radiating night under clear skies when a layer of thin cirrus spread across the sky ( thin enough to see stars )? Also in a situation where freezing radiation fog formed, again with clear skies up to and beyond where the sky becomes obscured by the fog. What would happen to the surface ( ground ) temperature and also the temperature structure of the fog.

        • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

          Last night I wrote an article entitled “The Old Wives’ Tales of Climatology” which will be published shortly on the Principia Scientific International website. I will copy two sections from that article which I believe will will help answer your question. The bold headings are two of the “Old Wives’ Tales” …

          Greenhouse gases (mostly water vapour) have raised temperatures by over 30 degrees

          If water vapour did in fact raise surface temperatures by about 30 degrees on average, then we would expect significant variations in different locations, because there may be only 10% as much water vapour in a dry area as in a moist area. So we would expect perhaps 5 degrees of warming in a dry area and maybe 50 degrees in a similar but moist area. In fact, real world data shows us (in studies such as that in the Appendix of my paper cited above) that moist areas have cooler mean daily maximum and minimum temperatures than similar but dry areas. The paper explains why this is the case.

          Radiation from the cooler atmosphere slows the rate of non-radiative cooling

          No, it can only slow radiative cooling and cannot slow non-radiative cooling, because the electromagnetic energy in such radiation is not converted to thermal energy in the warmer surface. Hence such back radiation cannot affect the rates of conduction and evaporative cooling which, in total, transfer about twice as much thermal energy from the surface to the atmosphere as does radiation. Furthermore, there is nothing to stop non-radiative processes accelerating or lasting longer into the night if radiative cooling is slowed. For more detail please see my paper Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

          • TonyB says:

            But the non-radiative processes at night are next to zero. Given a stable atmosphere and clear skies the cooling is overwhelming dominate by radiation. No convection and conduction cooling of the surface layers confined to inches.
            The absence/presence of water vapour makes a startling difference in cooling. I have seen the appearance of Cirrus cloud ( at a temperature of MS30-40 ) raise the temperature of a road surface ( as heat flux from beneath overwhelms loss to space ). If you take away the earth heat flux by having a layer of powder snow then the air above cools at a precipitous rate under clear skies – dependent on the dryness of the air. Should fog form the temperature fall arrests and eventually when the sky becomes obscured will stop or rise. But the top of the fog will continue to radiate to space – this is the way the fog’s depth increases, along with slight mixing down of the air above. Not by convection or conduction. If water does not have a warming effect then why do these processes dominate on radiation nights to the extent that meteorologists factor it into their models and a simple rule of thumb to estimate the coming night’s minima is to take the max temp, add the dew point, divide by 2 and take away a factor ( determined by observation at the particular site ) away from it. For an average site 1 to 5 will do it. ie still, clear night 5 and windy/cloudy 1. It works. Spent a career doing it.
            Are you saying that the daytime non-radiative cooling processes dominate the 24 hour cycle, averaged over the globe?

        • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:


          So, back radiation does indeed increase with cloud cover and the effect can be observed at night when radiative cooling of the surface is slower. The non-radiative processes will, however, have a propensity to then last longer into the night, or perhaps only catch up when the cloud cover clears even days later.

          However, there is an underlying base temperature which has a propensity to stop the cooling on a clear night from continuing at the same rate it did in the afternoon. Cooling slows down as the temperature approaches the “supporting temperature” in the early hours of the morning. It is this supporting temperature which is shown to be significantly lower in moist regions because of the less steep wet adiabatic lapse rate.

          What happens is that there is a gravitationally induced thermal gradient which would produce a higher surface temperature (maybe > 20C) if there were, say, only 10% as much water vapour throughout the world. Then the extra water vapour which the world does have reduces the mean temperature to about 15C. The slowing of radiative cooling by clouds is only a marginal effect which “averages out” over the whole globe.

  65. Rick C says:

    Global warming or just bad data?

    The system was reduced from aprox. 6000 weather reporting stations (1989) to only aprox 1500 (1991) creating a data set were most stations are located in UHI. The data sets before 1989 and after 1991 are not equivalant.

    So why do we accept and use what is obviously boggus data? Any conclusions based on these non-equivilant data sets are invalid.

    • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

      Yes, Rick, another of the “Old Wives’ Tales” of Climatology in my article referred to in my response to TonyB above reads …

      Temperatures have increased at a more rapid rate in the last century

      As shown in the Appendix of the paper just cited, the underlying rate of increase has actually reduced from a mere 0.06 C degree per decade about 100 years ago to about 0.05 C degree per decade in current times. This is still quite consistent with a long term rise of slightly less than 0.5 C degree per century over the last 300 to 400 years or so. The world probably saw similar rises between the Dark Ages and the Medieval Warming Period and, just as there was then a natural fall in temperatures for about 500 years until the Little Ice Age, so too can we expect a similar fall to commence within the next 100 to 200 years I would suggest. Mean temperatures are very unlikely to rise by more than a degree before such cooling sets in. In the short term, the fairly level trend since 1998 is likely to last for about 30 years before another 30 years of rising temperatures. The reasons for the apparent natural variations in climate may have something to do with processes not yet fully understood, but probably related mostly to the planetary orbits of Jupiter, Saturn and Venus. Above all, we need to recognise that there is no valid physics which can prove that carbon dioxide plays any significant role in affecting the climate of our planet.

  66. Max says:

    Yes, but you are creating proportionality between mass and tropospheric height by artificially holding other factors constant.” ~DJC

    Well yes, that was the point of the thought experiment, to demonstrate that if you keep other factors constant but change the mass, then the troposphere will vary, if you have such a problem with that I’m not eager to read your “amazing discoveries”, sorry.

    • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

      It is normal practice to use independent parameters. The height of the troposphere is what is needed. You may not have information on the mass of a planet’s atmosphere, but if you know

      (1) the height of the atmosphere
      (2) the specific heat of the gases
      (3) the force of gravity
      (4) the effective level of insolation

      then you do not need to know the mass in order to calculate the surface temperature. And you do not need to know whether or not sufficient direct insolation reaches the surface to trigger upward convection, because convection is not essential for a thermal gradient, which can and does form by diffusion of kinetic energy, even in still conditions.

    • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

      Strictly speaking (1) should read “height of the troposphere.” You don’t need (4) if you have actual data of temperatures at a known height in the troposphere, because then you know the level of the thermal plot and its gradient. Hence you can use simple geometry to calculate the expected temperature rise from that point to the surface. None of these calculations require knowledge of mass or pressure, because the surface temperature has nothing to do with pressure or the mass of the atmosphere above it. It relates only to the distance (height) over which the thermal plot rises with its known gradient.

      It is actually fairly complicated to calculate the level of the plot from the insolation levels, and so, although we know that effective insolation determines that level, in practice we really need to know the temperature at some altitude within the troposphere.

  67. Peter Garrone says:

    Fascinating subject.

    My understanding is that Trenberth etc would maintain that there is a high temperture sensitivity to incrementally increasing CO2 levels, but that the extra heat being generated is going into the oceans, rather than increasing temperature.

    I also understand this high sensitivity would result from increased long-wave radiation from CO2 molecules to the oceans, which causes increased temperature, which causes increased evaporation, which causes extra extra H2O molecules, which causes increase long-wave hence creating the positive feedback.

    But if the extra heat from the initial CO2-induced long wave radiation is being spirited away to the ocean depths instead of increasing surface temperature, is not the positive feedback loop broken? That is, increasing temperature is an inherent part of the high-sensitivity positive feedback loop, and if there is no increasing temperature, there can be no positive feedback, surely.

    But if Trenberth is maintaining that there is high sensitivity and the heat is being spirited away, surely that is having his cake and eating it too.

    • Dr. Strangelove says:

      I don’t believe in Trenberth’s high sensitivity. I do think his “missing heat” in deep ocean is plausible. This implies climate sensitivity will be lower than observed in 20th century.

      I believe climate sensitivity isn’t constant and can vary. This is because we are measuring air temperature and the atmosphere holds for only 0.1% of earth’s surface heat. Most of the heat is stored in the ocean. This is like trying to determine your body temperature by touching the tip of your nose.

      • Peter Garrone says:

        Thanks, I was interested in what Trenberth’s position was, what its consistency is on this point, that is if he does in fact hold that the sensitivity is high and the heat is being stored in the ocean.

        If Trenberth is saying that the sensitivity is low because the heat is being stored in the ocean, then the position would be consistent as far as that went, and there would not be any disagreement on this point between Trenberth and Spencer. You say yourself that the missing heat “implies climate sensitivity is lower than observed…”. So of course if the heat is missing it would be logical that the sensitivity would be low.

        However Trenberth appears to be maintaining that the sensitivity is high and the heat is missing. Obviously he has his beliefs like all of us, but how does he reconcile this position as a scientist is what interests me, because on the face of it, it is illogical.

    • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

      Peter, unfortunately the “old wives’ tale” that you quote when you write “extra H2O molecules, which causes increase long-wave hence creating the positive feedback” cannot be supported by any temperature records comparing moist and dry regions, or by any valid physics. The opposite is the case in the real world where water vapour cools the surface from a mean of above 20C back to about 15C. See my comments above and “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures.”

      • Peter Garrone says:

        My question was about the actual basis of the argument for enhanced sensitivity, not the correctness of it. My understanding is that the basis is through enhanced water vapour. You are saying that this is not the basis of the “orthodox” positions? What is it then? In a few simple words, thanks.

        • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

          That is indeed the basis they rely upon for the assumed enhancing by water vapour. The physics and the observed facts demolish that basis, and thus demolish the greenhouse conjecture altogether, especially when it can be shown that both water vapour and carbon dioxide have a cooling effect due to reducing the thermal gradient, and this cooling effect completely dominates the marginal effect of slowing surface radiative cooling.

  68. Max says:

    (1) the height of the atmosphere
    (2) the specific heat of the gases
    (3) the force of gravity
    (4) the effective level of insolation
    ” ~DJC

    Calculate the temperature of Jupiter in this way.

    • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

      Jupiter doesn’t have a solid surface whose temperature can thus be measured or which determines the height of the atmosphere. It also acquires additional kinetic energy from potential energy because, being a gaseous planet, it is forever shrinking and losing potential energy as a result. But, despite all this, the gravitationally induced thermal gradient would be able to be calculated from (2) and (3) and then, if we have a measurement of a temperature at some altitude high in the troposphere, we would be able to calculate the temperature at a lower altitude.

    • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

      Anyway, just for interest, here is what another physicist also deduces from Venus data. I quote …

      “So there is no greenhouse effect. You have just proved that climate science is utterly wrong to think otherwise. This is the scandal that so many “experts” in climate science, and all the scientific authorities, will not face. Listen to the physicists that tell you there is no greenhouse effect; they know without having to go to the Venus data — and I am one of them. The continuing incompetence on this vital point among so many scientists, for more than a century, is amazing, and tragic.”

  69. Max says:

    Yeah, I’m confident Harry will be recognized for pointing that out eventually. I independently arrived at an explanation for the Venusian temperatures through the mechanism I mentioned in the ESA findings, whereby a gas parcel at the top of the column is warmed further and rises to a greater altitude than other parcels at the same temperature, and upon desending exchanges the additional potential for kinetic energy, warming the surface from the top down.


    As for Jupiter, Baez explains that a collapsing gas cloud can have temperature go up while entropy appears to go down, and energy actually goes down because it can radiate, and photons have entropy.

    For now, I just want to point out that these 3 facts are closely related:

    The energy of a gravitationally bound cloud of gas decreases as the cloud shrinks.
    The entropy of a gravitionally bound cloud of gas decreases as the cloud shrinks.
    A gravitationally bound cloud of gas has a negative specific heat.

    The first one says that

    dE/dR > 0 (1)

    where R is the radius of the cloud. The second one says that

    dS/dR > 0 (2)

    The third one says that

    dE/dT 0. That’s good we already know the temperature of the gas cloud is positive. If we divide (1) by (3) we get dT/dR < 0. This is also good we already know that the gas cloud gets hot as it shrinks.

    It follows that though some of the inequalities (1)-(3) are a bit surprising, if we switched the direction of any one of these inequalities, we'd get a contradiction with things we know. ” ~Baez

    • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

      <b<Max You say ” upon desending [sic] exchanges the additional potential for kinetic energy, warming the surface from the top down”

      But there is no evidence that gas clings together in parcels that are warmer or cooler than their surrounds in the calm conditions on Venus/ Why would they? See my comment about the lake written a few days ago. When night becomes day, then the general cooling during the 4 month Venus night (by about 5 degrees) becomes warming. The new energy from the Sun is absorbed over a wide range of altitudes, and it then spreads out in all directions by newly triggered convection that passes over the sloping thermal plane, some of it reaching the surface and supporting the very high temperatures there. Please see the Section on “heat creep” in my paper and the diagrams explaining it.

      I’m sorry Max, but entropy never decreases, and nothing in my paper depends upon it doing so. Such would be a travesty of physics. Likewise, negative specific heat would violate the First Law. I never have agreed with Baez who is sadly mistaken.

    • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

      Baez is not considering the total energy input and output for the whole Jupiter system.

      Let’s start at a given point in time and a given temperature at which the whole Jupiter is in radiative equilibrium with the Sun.

      Assume shrinking then starts due to contraction under the force of its own gravity. It thus loses some of the total potential energy (PE) and that energy is converted initially to an additional amount of kinetic energy (KE). The temperature thus rises, but a new equilibrium evolves wherein the radiation increases to the level where the extra radiative flux exactly balances the rate of conversion of potential energy.

      We are assuming no chemical or phase changes, and so total energy varies with just PE, KE and net radiative flux, which is outwards to space. But there has been no loss or creation of energy in this process. Hence there is no gain or loss of entropy.

  70. Kel says:

    But the overall trend is upward!! Why do you ignore this?

  71. james walters says:

    Dr. Spencer:

    There is a 4th explanation. All of the IPCC models predict unreasonable acceleration of atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Between the slowing of growth of energy use, from demand-destroying costs, and the increased activity of the biosphere (which is now consuming more than 70% of anthropogenic CO2), actual atmospheric CO2 concentrations are lagging the models. Our modeling shows we will reach a maximum CO2 concentration of about 423 ppm in about 2034, and thereafter the CO2 concentrations will begin to decline, even if we do nothing to interfere.

    If I am correct, CO2 will become a non-issue in the not-too-distant future by virtue of economic and biotic forces already in play.

    Thanks for your good work.


  72. TonyB says:

    John O’Sullivan says …

    “Indeed, it is the greenhouse effect which destabilizes the atmosphere, leading to convective overturning. Without it, there would not be weather as we know it. The net effect of greenhouse gases is to warm the lowest layers, and to cool the upper layers.

    The greenhouse effect thus continuously tries to produce a lapse rate much steeper than the adiabatic lapse rate, but
    convective overturning occurs before that can happen, cooling the lower troposphere and warming the upper troposphere through a net convective transport of heat from lower layers to upper layers.

    I agree, though with the caveat that an ELR is naturally present in any case.
    I do this on the basis that I am a retired Meteorologist – of 32 years with the UKMO.

    Reading Mr Cotton’s paper – “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures”
    I have further comments.

    Diffusion ( conduction in a solid ) in air is a minutely slow process – the thermal conductivity of air at 0.024 W/m k is about that of cotton wool and is by orders of magnitude swamped by convection with the atmosphere. The DALR is
    correctly explained by the Hydrostatic equation and Gas laws at 9.8C/km. No other is required. No practical diffusion
    process takes place. An illustration ( in reverse ) – Air over a cold surface insulating surface ( powder snow ) develops a staggering inversion whilst in contact with the snow …. but of the order of inches/few feet only in a 12 hour night in the absence of wind and cloud. Maybe -30c at the snow surface rising to maybe -15C at 4 feet and intersecting with the ELR at, say -5C near 15 feet.

    Not only are there vertical convection currents but horizontal movements too, caused by temperature differences in the horizontal inducing a thermal wind which then turns ( right in the NH – Coriolis force ) to form Jet-streams and their attendant Highs/Lows. Not to say turbulence/deflection over mountain ranges etc. I say again, diffusion is negligible as a process in distributing the Earth’s heat. ( I do not count surface heating of air as diffusion – the upward motion is convection ). The atmosphere is mixed by these process only.

    To my mind it is intuitive that radiation starting at the surface of the Earth on it’s journey to space will cause
    greater warmth in the lower layer than the upper. There are more molecules struck at the higher densities lower down.
    Looked at another way there is more resistance to the path and as in electrical circuits that greater resistance causes
    greater heat. As the photon travels upward it’s escape becomes increasingly easier and so it leaves quicker than it
    enters at the surface. This velocity gradient is analogous to a temperature gradient. Warmer lower down. Not at the top.

    As to H2O/WV equaling things across the atmosphere. The upper atmosphere has little. Water enters the atmosphere from the bottom and is transported upward by convection and precipitated out. Descending air at right exits and left entrances of jet-streams also dries out air. As does the band of HP at 30 deg north/south as air rising from the ITCZ converges aloft as Coriolis maximises, causing descent. This greater concentration of water in the lower layers again working to destabilise the atmosphere via the GHE ( in the absence of condensation ).

    As to the cooling effect of any GHG due greater heating lower down causing increased convection, hence possibly, greater cooling via condensation, this is addressed by realising that ( less than ) 12 hours of the 24 will cause a super-adiabat at the surface over land and that a large proportion of the daylight side will not have convection going on, ie the Pole, deserts, anticyclonic regions. This of course is countered by warm-advection processes within cyclones.

    DJC says ..
    “…because of the widely varying percentage of water vapour in different regions, we would expect far higher temperatures in moist regions and far lower in dry regions, now wouldnt we? Do you see such? The evidence is that the
    opposite is the case.”

    I wouldn’t and I don’t. Temperature rise is limited by convection in a conditionally unstable atmosphere, as is usually present in a warm/humid region. And the temperature of tropical zones becomes self-leveling as a result, not even considering evaporative cooling as dew/mist burns-off and rain falls. Over desert areas the atmosphere is highly stable and the daytime max may get to the mid 50’s C ( as a super-adiabat at the surface over the extremely insulating sandy surface ). Falling commensurately low overnight in the dry air given no wind/cloud. The atmosphere there has a “lid” aiding the very high surface temp to build up. You cannot merely compare wet with dry, you have to consider other meteorological factors and topography/geology.

    • Stephen Wilde says:

      I agree with TonyB.

      Although DJC and John O’Sullivan are on the right general track by noting pressure gradients and lapse rates their lack of meteorological knowledge skews their consequent interpretations as to how the system works.

      It isn’t the greenhouse effect that ‘destabilises’ an atmosphere. It is surface heating from solar irradiation combined with the gravitationally induced pressure gradient with height.

      It isn’t diffusion that moves energy up and down as proposed by DJC but rather adiabatic upward (decompression) and downward (compression) movement of air masses which also causes horizontal winds in the process.

      • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

        Show me your calculations which, in your mind, establish from the Ideal Gas Laws (or Kinetic Theory) why compression supposedly causes heating and decompression supposedly causes cooling. Decompression in the thermosphere isn’t getting along too well with its cooling. Nor is compression at the bottom of the ocean doing much warming. Calculations, Stephen please! Hard cold computations rather than a load of old wives’ tales aired in climatology circles.

        I don’t propose that diffusion moves energy up and down. I propose what I propose in the “heat creep” discussion in my paper.

    • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:


      Yes diffusion is a slow process, but it has had the life of the planet in which to establish the underlying thermal gradient. Convection can be slow too. If the additional source of heat is small, it is barely distinguishable from diffusion. Bear in mind there are large regions in the Venus atmosphere where no detectable movement is apparent, yet diffusion plays its role in establishing and maintaining the gradient. Why wouldn’t it anyway?

      My whole point is that you don’t need to take the long way round via the Ideal Gas Law in order to calculate the -g/Cp quotient. You can do it in two lines directly from Kinetic Theory (as used by Einstein) and pressure never comes into it. In fact, if you calculate it the long way round, pressure simply cancels out.

      There is no fixed rate for convection, any more than there is a fixed rate for water flowing down a creek bed. But it is generally considered to be less than 0.05 Km/hr I understand – correct me if you have other measurements. In any event, the heat creep which I talk about is a convection process happening in all directions away from the source of additional energy. But don’t confuse wind, let alone jet streams with convection.

      Wind disrupts the thermal gradient and there is nothing in physics which establishes that wind in any direction, even vertical, will establish and maintain the -g/Cp gradient. This can only be done by the adiabatic processes of diffusion and convection. Downward wind at the South Pole obliterates the thermal gradient.

      The process at the boundary of the surface and the atmosphere is a conduction process which can also be called diffusion in physics. (See Heat Transfer” in Wikipedia.)

      Regarding radiation, note in my paper (under the NASA diagram) that more incident downwelling radiation is absorbed by the atmosphere than upwelling radiation. Radiation only ever transfers heat from warmer to cooler regions which are mostly at higher altitudes in the troposphere. Hence radiation has a leap frogging effect, being far faster than convection or even any upward wind. This is why moist air in the space between double glazing is a poor insulator compared with dry air. So too is a moist atmosphere. Water vapour increases produce lower surface temperatures, as is confirmed in real world data.

      If, as you say, you wouldn’t expect moist regions to be warmer, then that’s good. Hence you too disagree with the greenhouse conjecture that water vapour has been the main GHG raising surface temperatures by most of that assumed 33 degrees. You also disagree with the assumed positive feedback of water vapour which is supposed to amplify the assumed warming effect of carbon dioxide.

      But your statement that temperature rise is limited by convection has no physical basis. It is only limited by Solar insolation and, when temperatures on some days rise into the 40’s it’s obvious that it is convection that is limited and is unable to cool the surface fast enough.

      And again there is no physical feedback mechanism within the realms of valid physics which sends additional thermal energy back to the surface purely because of some “lid” on the atmosphere. Yes, you could well say that the temperature inversion in the stratosphere is like a lid, because it does indeed stop upward convection such as in the tropics. But what then happens is explained in Section 13 of my paper.

  73. Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

    To Roy and silent readers

    Stephen Wilde continually refuses to study my February paper and yet airs his views on what he thinks I say. For example, in his latest comment above he states

    “It isnt diffusion that moves energy up and down as proposed by DJC … “

    But in Section 13 of my paper you can read, and I quote …

    “You will recall that, in the process we have called diffusion, there is no overall movement of air in any one direction when thermodynamic equilibrium is established. When an additional supply of thermal energy is added, there will be a net flow of molecules away from that source, as we saw in the discussion of heat creep in Section 8. This can be observed as a very slow adiabatic movement of air which is correctly referred to as convection.”

  74. Stephen Wilde says:

    “a very slow adiabatic movement of air which is correctly referred to as convection.

    Try applying that to deep depressions, typhoons and hurricanes or any deep convective shower or storm.

    Convection can be very quick and, importantly, the average convection rate globally can vary as necessary to maintain equilibrium despite forcing from elements other than mass, gravity and insolation.

    • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

      Discussion of wind is in Section 13 of my paper. Adiabatic processes do not occur in non-abiabatic environments such as wind.

      • Stephen Wilde says:

        Upward convection and the consequent downdrafts are the cause of horizontal winds between areas of high and low pressure.

        Adiabatic processes are present in all vertical movements.

  75. TonyB says:

    Lengthy I’m afraid …….

    DJC says…
    “But your statement that temperature rise is limited by convection has no physical basis. It is only limited by Solar insolation and, when temperatures on some days rise into the 40′s its obvious that it is convection that is limited and is unable to cool the surface fast enough”.


    “But your statement that temperature rise is limited by convection has no physical basis.”

    I’m sorry, but I thought I had been clear …. It most certainly has a physical basis. Look at a typical Tephigram from a tropical zone. The absence of a subsidence inversion at the 2 to 7000 ft level ( no lid ) allows a quick “escape” up of heated, moist air, via convection.

    I was referring to a tropical climate ( extremely moist ) merely to refute your causation v correlation finding ( sic ) that moister zones were not warmer than dry ones. Hence the GHE was false. I repeat – in a tropical climate the ELR is conditionally unstable and given a modest temperature rise then vigorous convection can quickly take place. Vis a
    rain-forest, where your watch may be set by the onset of thunderstorms. The convection limits the maximum temperature. I did NOT say/imply that by moist regions being not necessarily hot, that the GHE is false.

    I also say again, diffusion is NOT a player in the atmosphere. Nowhere in Meteorology is it a significant factor. It is all radiative/convective/advection. Surface heating, as I said, warms the surface layer of air partly by conduction but also by radiative transfer. Air is a very, very good insulator, and is transported upward ( often to the Tropopause ) in the matter of minutes at times ….. via convection.

    You also say…
    “( diffusion ) This can be observed as a very slow adiabatic movement of air which is correctly referred to as convection.
    No it can’t. Convection is the mass transport of air due to buoyancy. This is the way the atmosphere mixes vertically, and transports WV upwards. And convection is often rapid/violent and even happens aloft in dry air due potential instability or turbulence in wind shear ( CAT ).

    I am not/did not confuse jet-streams with convection. I covered it to highlight that diffusion is irrelevant in mixing the atmosphere and the horizontal air movement is a large part of that mixing as well as convection. I do not know enough of Venus to talk intelligently of the GHE there. I do know meteorology on Earth, and you are describing a science I do not understand as being any part of it, I’m afraid.

    Maybe on an ideal planet ( non-rotating, non illuminated, where each sq m of surface has the same thermal
    capacity and receives the same constant heat input with an ideal gas as an atmosphere ) – then diffusion may dominate. But no way does it for Earth. The hydrostatic equation and gas laws arrive at the DALR quite elegantly enough for me. It works. There is no need to fix it IMO.

    Also ….
    “Water vapour increases produce lower surface temperatures, as is confirmed in real world data.”
    No, I’m sorry this is wrong. You need to compare like with like, as I have tried to explain. The surface
    temp/dewpoint/pressure are not enough, the whole atmospheric profile needs to be examined. As is done when a Meteorologist forecasts a local max temp. One technique is to use the 1000-850mb thickness or the 1000-500mb thickness ( the thickness of the layer between those two pressure points ). This ( roughly ) takes into account any inversions. Another method is to use an estimate of temp/moisture by using the 850mb potential wet-bulb. In the old days as a duty forecaster I used to analyse a tephigram in the surface layers. Estimate the likely incoming solar energy ( in increments through the day ) and work out the formation times of cumulus and/or Cb ( or conversely the burn of times of St/Sc cloud. Along with the temperature profile of the day. This for low-flying operations of the RAF. As a tephigram is an energy based graph of equal areas, temp v pressure height. Then an area of energy required to fill the space between the ELR and a DALR at a point where the inversion would be broken can be calculated and the extra energy is then averaged out over the point past that inversion, to achieve a calculated max. What I am saying is that WV increases most certainly do NOT produce lower surface temps. This, I say, as a result of 32 years in the UKMO. A simplistic analysis of temps reached in moist areas v those in dry will not lead you to the correct conclusion.

    “Radiation only ever transfers heat from warmer to cooler regions which are mostly at higher altitudes in the
    troposphere. Hence radiation has a leap frogging effect”
    I disagree, with the electrical resistance analogy the greater number of collisions occur lower down – therefore the slower the photon is at first, getting a freer route as it climbs further. The energy associated with these greater
    collisions will concentrate it in those lower zones. I know radiation does not transfer from cold to warm in the sense
    of measurably raising the temperature above the radiator’s, but it does slow down its heat loss. As I say I have ( more
    times than I care to remember ) seen thin Cirrus cloud ( say -40C at 30000ft ) lift the temperature of a road by a
    degree on a frosty night. The ground heat flux catching/overtaking the heat lost to space until in balance again. WV can and does ( as do other GHG’s ) scatter energy back. From cold to warm. Also the ground temperature of a frosty night can often go above zero as freezing fog forms. The cooling then being transfered to the fog top once the sky becomes obscured. Radiation to space continuing above the moisture and being held back within the fog.

    And… “You also disagree with the assumed positive feedback of water vapour which is supposed to amplify the assumed warming effect of carbon dioxide.”
    Err. No. How did you get that from my comments?
    From my above post ….”This greater concentration of water in the lower layers again working to destabilise the
    atmosphere via the GHE ( in the absence of condensation ).” This of course along with the warming caused by extra CO2
    allowing greater absolute ( not relative ) humidity.

    Also you say …”And again there is no physical feedback mechanism within the realms of valid physics which sends
    additional thermal energy back to the surface purely because of some lid on the atmosphere.”
    I’m sorry Doug but you obviously do not understand the dynamics of the atmosphere from a meteorological standpoint.
    Theoretical physics is fine but a practical application is required to arrive at a real world answer.
    To reiterate again, hopefully more clearly……
    No NOT “physical feedback” – I am NOT talking about a radiative response. The surface temperature is dependent on the ELR above that surface. If there is a “lid”, or more correctly, a temperature inversion ( temp rising with height ) above that surface, usually within the 2- 6000 ft area, then the air beneath has to rise to a ( much ) higher temp in order to rise, then cool, such
    that it is still warmer than the nose of that inversion, to pass it and continue up through the atmosphere. It is this
    lid that is the “valve” controlling the value of the max temp achievable at the surface. In desert areas ( dry by
    definition ) there is a subsidence inversion above ( HP ). It is this physical layer of warm air that the surface
    convection has to pass in order to continue up ( possibly to the Tropopause ). Therefore a much higher temp needs to be
    attained to pass that “lid”. ie the solar energy is confined to a relatively shallow layer and concentrated giving the
    high max, exaserbated by a high super-adiabat over the dry, sandy surface. This is how maxes in the high 50’s are
    acheived. You cannot equate surface temps in isolation of the lapse rate aloft.

    And … “Yes, you could well say that the temperature inversion in the stratosphere is like a lid, because it does indeed stop upward convection such as in the tropics. But what then happens is explained in Section 13 of my paper.”

    So indeed, refering to sect 13 in your paper…
    “Hence, when air rises by convection in the tropics it is replaced by incoming Trade Winds, and it also squeezes out pole-bound winds under the tropopause ceiling, because the temperature inversion in the stratosphere stops further rising.”
    Are you not aware of the Coriolis force? I refered it in my earlier post and it is a vital part of planetary atmospheres. It is this that stops tropical air rising to the tropopause from going to the Poles (directly). 30 deg N/S is as far as it gets then descends.

    What I am in essence saying Doug, is that being a theoretical physicist is fine, all well and good, and many fine things have been discovered by same over the last century or so. BUT it needs to be a joined up discipline these days. You are not going to confound science with some gob-smacking incite any more. The world has moved on. With all due respect look at the experimental results exhibited by the planets weather ( without cherry-picking your results re temps ). My world of weather does not behave as your model would have it.

    • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

      Firstly, my field of specialised study is in the physics of the atmosphere – something I find most climatologists do not understand.

      Nowhere in Meteorology is it (diffusion) a significant factor writes TonyB.

      That’s because meteorologists prefer to “explain” so-called “lapse rates” by assuming expansion causes cooling, whereas such cooling actually happens at the molecular level by the process of diffusion of kinetic energy.

      I am really only interested in discussing anything you either don’t understand in my paper, or imagine you can prove to be incorrect. I don’t call upon authority of meteorologists or anyone – I just use valid physics.

      Of course I am aware of the Coriolis force which is a pseudo force easily demonstrated by physics, resulting from the rotation of the Earth. This leads to Polar Easterlies etc. though they don’t really come from due East. You can take out the Coriolis force just by imagining the Earth stopped rotating. Then the directions of winds would be more directly north and south. This does not negate the validity of the “funnel effect” I am talking about which is based on the geometry of the troposphere.

      And being a climatologists is fine, but that does not allow postulation of effects that are contrary to the laws of physics. Such postulations are prolific among climatologists, and easily demonstrated to be wrong, such as can be the postulate that water vapour has a warming effect and positive feedback. You can’t prove that to be true, either theoretically or empirically.

      Convection is the mass transport of air due to buoyancy

      You believe the old wives’ tale of climatology that convection is due to expansion and thus buoyancy, but it’s not.. It is the result of a new (or continuing) source of additional thermal energy which is upsetting the (prior) state of thermodynamic equilibrium. I have used physics to show that in fact it occurs in all directions away from the source of that additional thermal energy. If you don’t accept this, then you cannot explain how sufficient thermal energy transfers into the surface of Venus.

      Convection is an adiabatic process in physics, whilst wind is not. If you consider non-adiabatic wind to be adiabatic convection, then you are talking so far out of the realm of physics that we are going to find it very difficult to communicate.

      but it (radiation) does slow down its heat loss.

      Yes, I have said that numerous times in my papers, articles and comments. So what? If you understood my latest paper you wouldn’t even bother to raise the point. I do know quite a bit about the physics of radiation, you know. I wrote a paper about radiated energy which you’ll find in the publications menu on the Principia Scientific International website, as well as other sites including Tallbloke’s Talkshop where there are hundreds of comments about the paper. Catch up on your reading one day!

      The surface temperature is dependent on the ELR above that surface

      Why are you preaching to me the main point that I make in my paper? That is the very reason why there are lower surface temperatures when the ELR is less steep, such as when the atmosphere above is more moist. Otherwise there would be no radiative equilibrium between the Sun and Earth.

      Therefore a much higher temp needs to be attained to pass that lid.

      Simply not true. The inversion at such altitudes does not usually lead to the temperatures being actually warmer than the surface. And even when that occurs (such as in Foehn winds) it is because of wind which over-rides convection. But this is just a local weather event, and not in general of any significance in affecting global mean temperatures, or even the mean temperatures in the region concerned. Even when the hottest region at the top of the inversion exceeds the surface temperature, most of the excess energy has first to fill the thermal “valley” before it overflows to the surface. By then most of it has dispersed in all directions, including upwards and horizontally to nearby regions where there is no inversion. To make a general conclusion that this is the main reason for the warmer maximum and minimum temperatures in dry regions is ludicrous in the eyes of those who understand atmospheric physics.

      If water vapour really does cause mean world temperatures to be about 30 degrees warmer, then why aren’t those regions which have perhaps only 10% of the mean level of water vapour much cooler, like maybe 27 degrees cooler?

      If you wish to opt out of answering this question by saying that the IPCC is totally wrong about there being a GHE, then we are in agreement. But if you wish to be counted among those who are propagating the lie and misleading governments and the public, then I suggest you need to have a valid answer to this question.

      • TonyB says:

        Mr Cotton …

        “”Therefore a much higher temp needs to be attained to pass that lid”.
        Simply not true. The inversion at such altitudes does not usually lead to the temperatures being actually warmer than
        the surface. And even when that occurs (such as in Foehn winds) it is because of wind which over-rides convection”.

        Err – No, the inversion temp is usually higher than the surface but becomes colder than the surface at some point as the DALR develops. You are telling me that what I have observed with data over 32 years in the UKMO is “simply not true”

        Oh… Right oh, I must have missed that, as did my colleagues.

        IT IS how ( extra ) high temperatures occur. It is a physical thing involving buoyancy. Like blowing air into a hot-air balloon – the envelope preventing escape and allowing the air inside to heat. The inversion is the envelope, and the nose ( temp at which the inversion can be passed ), the valve at the top of that balloon envelope ( hypothetically set to release at a known temp ) that automatically lets it out/pass by at that temp. Rising on up into the atmosphere BECAUSE of buoyancy.
        Heat from the sun is confined to shallow surface layers and prevented from rising by a “lid” of higher temperatures above. Basic meteorology, air will only rise when warmer than it’s surroundings ( not climatology or “an old wives tale” – they don’t work. This does and can be seen to by releasing a hot air balloon ). The surface temp rise will not slow/stabilise until the DALR from the surface is able to pass the nose of the inversion and spread the sun’s heat through greater depth of atmosphere by convection.

        A Foehn wind occurs because moist air passes over high ground/mountains. Looses it’s moisture via precipitation on the windward side and then descends the lee side down a DALR, having risen on the other side at the SALR. Result hotter. Heat added via release of latent heat.

        “I have used physics to show that in fact it occurs in all directions away from the source of that additional thermal
        energy. If you dont accept this, then you cannot explain how sufficient thermal energy transfers into the surface of

        No, and you’re not going to complicate things using Venus as an analogy. I do not know sufficient about the planet to comment. I know the earth’s meteorology and strongly I suspect it’s laws are the same. You haven’t done any more than the existing empirical laws/equations already explain perfectly using the hydrostatic and gas law equations. You have used “diffusion” as the basis for your theory, which does not work ( in Earth’s atmosphere at least ). A gas under gravity will reduce in density with height and hence a natural lapse-rate will occur. If you don’t like that then take it up with your peers. Every Met organisation in the world models the atmosphere in this way.

        “Convection is an adiabatic process in physics, whilst wind is not. If you consider non-adiabatic wind to be adiabatic
        convection, then you are talking so far out of the realm of physics that we are going to find it very difficult to

        I did not say/imply that. I was talking of wind to destroy your assertion that diffusion is dominant in the atmosphere.
        It is plainly not. The atmosphere is churning away at a rapid rate, orders of magnitude greater than any “conduction” through a ( greatly insulating gas ). The difficulty in it being “difficult to communicate” arises from you not knowing meteorology in any depth and expounding maverick physics. That is all, and I haven’t said that of you ( IMHO in an arrogant way ). At least not yet.

        “”The surface temperature is dependent on the ELR above that surface”
        Why are you preaching to me the main point that I make in my paper? That is the very reason why there are lower surface
        temperatures when the ELR is less steep, such as when the atmosphere above is more moist. Otherwise there would be no
        radiative equilibrium between the Sun and Earth””.

        Misunderstood. I am not referring to a natural ( radiatively balanced ) ELR – I am talking of a specific, local one, such
        that determines a local max temp ( to take down your asserted correlation of humid regions not being warmer than dry ones ). It is local, and by that I mean regional in planetary terms. The ELR determines the max temp, because of the ability of that temperature structure to prevent heated air from rising and spread it’s heat through greater depth ( by mixing ).

        “Even when the hottest region at the top of the inversion exceeds the surface temperature, most of the excess energy has first to fill the thermal valley before it overflows to the surface. By then most of it has dispersed in all
        directions, including upwards and horizontally to nearby regions where there is no inversion. To make a general
        conclusion that this is the main reason for the warmer maximum and minimum temperatures in dry regions is ludicrous in the eyes of those who understand atmospheric physics”.

        Do you really think that A UK Meteorological Office Forecaster would not “understand atmospheric physics” ?
        Your ideas do not relate in any way to the meteorology that I was taught and witnessed through a career. Of course the
        temperature at the top of the inversion can exceed the surface ( bar cooling via DALR ). That is why the air trapped below warms more – because it cannot get by the nose of the inversion. You are harking back to dispersion again. Heat does not disperse horizontally – not in this atmosphere, except via isentropic flow during advection. Diffusion is NOT a player in the practicalities of meteorology on this planet ( or by observation ). AND heat transport up/down/sideways via radiation does not fill “a valley”, at least not in the presence of convection and mixing. Venus may be different, but I doubt it.

        Look – lets agree that you not call my profession ludicrous and I wont yours. At least I am in the consensus with mine (
        in fact the entirety on basic physical synoptic meteorology ).

        “If water vapour really does cause mean world temperatures to be about 30 degrees warmer, then why arent those regions
        which have perhaps only 10% of the mean level of water vapour much cooler, like maybe 27 degrees cooler?”

        Because of the vigorous overturning/mixing that takes place in the atmosphere, as I keep trying to get over to you. As
        the heat engine that it is, mixes the cold at the poles with the heat at the equatorial zones. Trying to increase it’s
        entropy. Therefore the radiative effect of WV and CO2 etc is inherently there. Like gravity. A constant. It cannot be
        divorced/separated out. Humidity on a local scale merely cools the atmosphere VIA TAKE UP OF LATENT HEAT – hiding it.
        Your diffusion would only work on a model planet that is non-rotating and where there is uniform gravity, a uniform flat surface of uniform thermal conductivity/emissivity, receiving uniform radiation from a uniform Sun. Ours doesn’t
        allow diffusion due that it is anything but uniform and is vigorously in motion as a result. Hence the drivers are convection and radiation.

        “Of course I am aware of the Coriolis force which is a pseudo force easily demonstrated by physics, resulting from the rotation of the Earth. This leads to Polar Easterlies etc. though they dont really come from due East. You can take out the Coriolis force just by imagining the Earth stopped rotating. Then the directions of winds would be more directly north and south. This does not negate the validity of the funnel effect I am talking about which is based on the geometry of the troposphere.”

        What “funnel effect”? Never heard of one. Air is only funneled via isentropic flow – not by constriction of a reducing tropopause height approaching the poles, when anyway air from the equator would only get a third the way there before joining a westerly jet ( Coriolis ). Coriolis is not a “pseudo-force”. It is very real and a major player in the atmosphere, mixing it. BTW In the troposphere ( and the stratosphere come to that ) the polar vortex’s are westerlies. The only easterly jet is the equatorial one. This in winter time when the pole is cold. Air flows from warm to cold aloft, is deflected to the right ( left in SH ) until geostrophic. Westerly. The exception can only be when air aloft over the poles is warmer than further south. Summer, and at times in winter when destruction of O3 ( Ozone ) warms the polar vortex out ( transported from equatorial convection to the poles in the Strat via the Brewer-Dobson circulation ). Or when an up-welling Rossby wave penetrates from the troposphere below and disrupts the vortex. Both these phenomena have occurred in recent NH winters. It causes a -ve AO ( HP over the Arctic ) allowing cold air to spill southward and westward.

        Finally ..
        “If you wish to opt out of answering this question by saying that the IPCC is totally wrong about there being a GHE,
        then we are in agreement. But if you wish to be counted among those who are propagating the lie and misleading
        governments and the public, then I suggest you need to have a valid answer to this question”.

        Ah, the tell-tale language of a Denialist!
        The IPCC is correct. There is a GHE. I have seen it’s effect ( as I have stated in 2 prior posts ) ad-nauseum whilst monitoring road temps for local council gritting teams. For example: A small amount of moisture, even 6 miles up in solid form at a temp of -40C slows the loss of radiation to space from a road surface at, say -2C. I am not a conspiracy theorist. I come to my conclusions on the basis of professional knowledge and experience/observation. For peer review I cite my colleagues. I adhere to the idea that a group of people expert in their field ( by consensus ) know more than the man in the street about that field. And also, with respect, you are the maverick here that has a theory upsetting the science that has been accepted, understood, and importantly observed to work – for over a century. I take the accepted consensus view. I have stated that your idea of diffusion does not work in the real world on this planet, and given you my observations of 32 years re the behaviour of heat transport at the surface. It is up to you to tell me why my observations are as they are given your theory.

        Why does such a small amount of H2O back-scatter IR to the Earth’s surface from 6 miles up and produce a visible response on a thermometer on the surface of a road? Cold to warm. If it were not for a GHE?

  76. Norman says:


    You have the experience of several years worth of predicting future weather (high and low temps etc).

    The greenhouse effect is claimed to be responsible for 33C of warming (or slowing down cooling causing the Earth to be this much warmer). Most of the greenhouse effect is the result of water vapor in the air.

    After you take in all the other known atmospheric conditions you describe above (air movement and upper pressure readings etc) do you need to take in the large warming that would result if a sunny day will be humid or dry?

    Not all high humidity days lead to excessive cloud cover (they may in the tropics but not up North). I live close to Omaha. Last summer was a very dry year (maybe the lid thing you describe) but very hot. There are many summer days with high humidity that are sunny all day but they do not seem to get as hot. But a greehouse effect of 33C (some claims are water vapor is at least responsible for 80% of this number) would be several degrees F difference and you would most certainly have to calcualte this for an accurate forecast. The difference between a sunny humid day and a sunny dry day should really show up as a large number difference in the expected forecast.

    If anyone would know the impact of water vapor on the temperature it would be a person that spent their days trying to figure out what the next few days temperatures would be. Thanks.

    • TonyB says:


      You have to remember that the Earth is in balance with solar input ( all wavelengths ) and radiation out to space ( IR ). So any effect contributing to this balance, is there, a fact of life if you like. Humidity plays no part ( well nearly ) in a calculation of surface temperature. I would start with the nearest Met ballon sounding ( radiosonde ), the NWP ( numerical prediction ) model would tell me if any significant air mass change will occur that day ( and advection of cloud or frontal passage etc ). If a clear start to the day and with no expected changes aloft then a simple table of solar input ( insolation ) figures for the time of year come into play. Because a tephi ( plot of temp v height up through the troposphere – many call them Skew T plots ) is constructed so that any area on it contains the same energy as another, then you can put that solar insolation for the day “into” the air present at dawn. This is a simple construction at the bottom confining the eventual profile obtained to a DALR ( the natural lapse rate of temp with height of the atmosphere ). So if there is a “lid” aloft of warmer air then solar energy will build up under that lid ( remember smaller volume for the sun to heat ) – so it gets hot. If the “lid” cannot be passed by that days insolation, then no cloud will form ( often ). Should the lid be passed then the air ( thermals ) will rise
      until colder than their surroundings. Usually at this point the condensation level is reached, and cloud forms. This
      releases latent heat, slowing the cooling relative to the surrounding air giving greater buoyancy … and boom, it goes bang, often, as the air parcel hits the tropopause ( inversion below the stratoshere. With enough buoyancy the cloud will overshoot through that inversion – by maybe as much as an extra 20,000ft ( again a Tephi can work out that for you ). These storms are prevalent in the mid-west when Gulf air is over-ridden by cooler air from the north ( potential instability ). I wont get into Tornados.

      One small aspect in which humidity comes in in the calculation is burn-off of fog/low cloud and dew, as heat is required for that, causing evaporative cooling ( take up of latent heat ). The days where it is more humid will be those where the “lid” is not broken and it is not humid enough to create cloud by condensation beneath the lid on the rising air ( inversion close to ground ). It is true that humid air is slower to heat up and to cool down, whereas dry air does it more quickly. As the sun goes down after a cold, still, clear day in winter, especially over snow – then the temperature will plummet. If moist then the fall will be slower, until fog forms then depending on the vertical thickness of it the temp will fluctuate up/down.

      The temperature profile in depth is the key to that attained as a high at the surface on any particular day. Not the
      humidity, at least at the surface. Any humidity able to be lifted by thermals to its condensation point will create (
      convective ) cloud. The higher the humidity the lower the cloud base. Of course there are layered clouds formed in stable ( stratiform ) conditions and cyclonic advection. The temperature profile of the atmosphere in depth determines the height to which the thermal/thundercloud can reach ( well mostly – there are situations where mass descent of air smothers that – but it’s complicted to go there ).

      The GHE of WV and CO2 etc is just present/inherent in the atmosphere ( in the balance I’ve mentioned – bar our
      destabilisation of that balance by adding more GHG’s ).

      Where Mr Cotton goes wrong in his “it’s not hotter in humid regions in comparison to dry ones” – is simply the omission
      of the temp profile aloft and not realising that humidity actually serves to cool these more humid areas by evaporative cooling. Both via uplift of clouds, blocking of the sun by them, then by rainfall ( further evaporative cooling ). However this is not a radiative process in the sense of transporting heat away to space, it is just taken up by the water ( if you like – hidden heat ).

      Hope that’s answered you question Norman.

      BTW: the method I described for calculating the max temp is now very old-hat. Mesoscale models do all that, though with the same principle of adding the sun’s heat to the bottom of a predicted temp profile at any point.

      • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

        You seem to miss the whole point. The IPCC is trying to claim that normal mean percentages of water vapour supposedly raise the surface temperature by 30 degrees. My paper proves why that is not the case. Do you think you can express any valid physics which leads to a different conclusion and, specifically, proves anything in my paper wrong?

  77. Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

    TonyB writes humidity actually serves to cool these more humid areas by evaporative cooling.

    There’s not necessaarily a local large body of surface water just because the atmosphere is moist. Evaporative cooling only cools the water anyway. And then a corresponding amount of energy is released during phase change in the clouds.

    In future, I will only have time to respond to those who have read my latest article on the PSI website (as about 20,000 others have) and only on Roy’s latest thread following this comment.

    • TonyB says:

      No. Evaporative cooling cools the air in contact with it. There are many rain/drizzle/cloud droplets per cu cm and this has a significant cooling effect when falling rain/cloud/fog evaporates. But the main cooling effect is to remove solar energy that would otherwise warm the ground by uptake of latent heat of evaporation. Falling rain cools the air it falls through by evaporation and falling snow is even more effective in cooling by having the latent heat of fusion to take up from air the flakes fall to Earth ( in air of positive wet bulb temp ). A large local body of water is not required.
      And you prove my point by saying the phase change is reversed by condensation into clouds. The surface heat is REMOVED via latent heat and transported aloft to WARM higher layers. Another basic meteorological process. I have not said it was lost, merely hidden then reappearing higher in the atmosphere to precipitate out and start the cycle again. The hydrological cycle.

  78. Norman says:


    I read your post and thank you for taking the time to offer me the knowledge you possess on this subject.

    Your statement “The GHE of WV and CO2 etc is just present/inherent in the atmosphere” would be correct for the global system. Doug is talking about a local area that should show evidence of ehanced warming from water vapor.

    I have been playing around with this feature.

    You can put in weather data and convert RH to absolute humidity (I choose g/m^3).

    I got data from Weatherunderground history, here is an example. I look for clear days with light winds (to prevent skewed data from advection from another region).

    I also found a clear day for Las Vegas on July 27th of last year.

    Using the calculator I linked to I found Alabama air had about 8 times the water vapor content of Las Vegas air. The slowing down of radiation you mention in your posts should be far greater in Montgomery, Alabama. This would be like putting 8 layers of insulation on your house if it works as suggested and should greatly slow down the loss of radiation (I also converted the air to enthalpy and the Alabma air loses more energy than the Las Vegas air). Since both the days are clear (Vegas seems to always be windy though so it may not be the ideal for demonstration of a point) the GHE would work both day and night slowing radiation loss. The daytime in Alabama should become warmer since it is losing far less radiant energy than Las Vegas (you state that with a lid in place the sun has less air to heat in Vegas, this could very well be the case but the GHE in Montgomery should compensate for this). The really odd thing is that Montgomery cools (night)at about the same rate as the super dry air of Vegas. I graphed the 24 hour temperature plots on Excel sheets and made different graphs.

    Maxwell temp loss/gain rate Las Vegas loss/gain temp
    -0.5 -2
    -1.1 -2
    -1.5 -1.1
    0.2 -0.9
    -0.7 -1.9
    2.5 1.9
    4 2.9
    4.1 4.2
    3.3 3.9
    3.2 3.1
    2.7 2.9
    2.7 -0.4
    1.6 3.4
    1.1 2
    -0.4 0
    0.4 0
    -0.5 -2
    -3.3 0
    -7.5 -3
    -1.7 -4
    -2.7 -2
    -2.8 -3.9
    -1.3 -2

    These numbers may not post well but they are the differences between the following temp (positive for temperature gains and negative for a loss of temp). At night you do not see a super slowdown of cooling that should result with air that has 8 times the number of water molecules present.

    I am not sure I explained myself clearly. These are the things I am seeing with real world data that make me strongly consider what Doug Cotton has been saying. Maybe you have an alternative rational explanation for this.

    I will agree it is a very limited and small study but I see no reason to expect different results since the water vapor content is so much different.

    • TonyB says:


      “Your statement The GHE of WV and CO2 etc is just present/inherent in the atmosphere would be correct for the global system. Doug is talking about a local area that should show evidence of ehanced warming from water vapor.”

      That is my point – there will be no local evidence of enhanced warming due GHG’s that can be picked out from the noise of “weather”, especially for the locations you cite.

      As I tried to get through to Mr Cotton, the atmosphere is turbulently in motion. I don’t mean by that, that in your back garden it is always windy. The atmosphere in depth behaves as it would if you imagine it as a fluid – water say in a stream going under a bridge by it’s footings and over calm pools with turbulence around boulders, fast flowing in the centre ( jet ) and slow at edges with turbulent areas between ( travelling depressions ). With vertical, rotary and horizontal movements – these averaging out temp extremes/radiative balance due WV content over the globe. Any one water molecule is present in the atmosphere, due the hydrological cycle, for only a matter of days and it’s overturning ensures a smoothing out of extremes spatially/temporally. WV may not be present in any depth for instance with a shallow humid layer trapped at the surface but very dry air aloft above the trapping inversion. Therefore the majority of the atmosphere would be transparent to IR to space. Or at other times the opposite – dry at the surface but moist/cloudy aloft. In areas where there is consistent moisture then the cooling via evaporation will keep temperatures suppressed. Tropical rain-forests don’t even have to rain for that, as transpiration from leaves does a good deal of cooling.
      ( ever walked into a leafy wood on a hot day? – that’s not all down to shade ).
      Also the Earth is 70% covered by ocean/water – so evaporation and small diurnal temp changes due to the high specific heat of water ( takes near 4x more energy to warm water than air ). Also water allows penetration of that energy to greater depths and mixes down the heat – result a more constant climate where water is present, but humid with constant risk of thunderstorms. Sea breezes along coasts. etc.

      Merely by looking at the temp/dew pt will not give you a representation of any GHE at a locality when working out the
      overnight minimum. In a post replying to Mr Cotton I said a good formula was the day’s max + the dew pt at that time
      minus a factor ( dependent on observation at that site ). 1 – 5 generally does it. The 5 is for best cooling conditions – clear and still, but not just still at the surface it needs to be still in the “boundary layer” – usually at 2000ft and below. This, to still slight mixing at the top of the developing surface inversion ( will mix the colder air at the bottom with warmer air higher up ) and slow cooling overall.

      There are things like katabatic drainage for instance – the ability of cold air to flow away from or into the thermometer screen ( cold air is denser and will want to flow downhill/into hollows ). Altitude needs to be taken into account. Local wind flow ( from warmer urban areas).
      Another big thing is the relation of energy lost from a body being proportional to the 4th power of its temperature. ie
      the hotter something is, then the faster it cools. So you need to factor that in. How hot was the ground the day prior. If you were able to gain full data for the localities you cite re overnight wind/cloud at the surface at least ( proviso that you miss the important wind data just above a developing surface inversion ), then you may be able to test the above minimum temp formula to see if they match to any degree.

      What I am saying is that the GHE is masked at the local level, because it is ever present on a global scale and the
      atmosphere is far too chaotic with multiple cause/effects and feedback to allow a simplistic examination of surface
      conditions to filter out. Without an in depth study at least.

      BTW: looking at your link for temp data, I see that the stated min of 21C is actually for the early morning of the day for the stated max. Actually the min required for comparison should be that of the coming night – which looks to be 24C from the graph. You also need to use the dew pt at the time of max temp.

      So for Maxwell AFB, AL
      max 36
      dew 21
      36+21 = 57 ( /2 ) = 28.5 – ( 1-5 ) Say 4 and you get 24.5
      Following am’s min = 24
      So the equation has given a matching min TAKING INTO ACCOUNT the GHE of the air’s WV.

      I hope that hasn’t confused you Norman. Meteorology is a complex science with many overlying causes/effects with little change here giving a big difference there … and so on. With respect to Mr Cotton he does not have this grasp, nor would I expect him to. I post repostes to GW deniers most days and the breadth of ignorance is staggering. You even get people saying things like “don’t be ridiculous” when stating a perfectly straightforward piece of meteorology ( because of course their limited knowledge allows for an instant simplistic *but incorrect* conclusion ). Look up “Dunning-Kruger syndrome”. Their current favourite one is “how can GW cause cooling”. Well perfectly easily if you know how jet streams work and realise that the Arctic is warming at a greater rate than the temperate climes.

      Yours Tony

      • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

        The only radiation which penetrates water is that from the Sun, not that from a cooler atmosphere. Neither density nor pressure cause temperature to increase or decrease. Temperature is proportional to (and dependent only upon) mean molecular kinetic energy, and that can only be altered by either conversion of other energy such as gravitational potential energy, or by energy input or output. When night becomes day, the new energy absorbed by the atmosphere from incident Solar radiation spreads out in accord with the process of “heat creep” (first explained in my paper) which can be explained using a valid application of the laws of physics.

        Indeed, the study of atmospheric physics is a comprehensive and complex task on which I have spent thousands of hours.

        Consider this. The poles of Venus receive less than 1W/m^2 of direct Solar radiation. To maintain the temperature of over 720K they need an energy input of over 16,000W/m^2. No radiative greenhouse effect can magnify energy 16,000 times. To understand temperatures of planetary surfaces, crusts, mantles and cores you will need to understand the somewhat advanced physics in my paper, some of which has not been published by any other researcher to the best of my knowledge.

        No “greenhouse effect” ever was or ever will be responsible for the temperatures on Earth or any planet. Such a conjecture is simply not in accord with the laws of physics. There is only an insulating effect provided by the atmosphere, and most of that is due to nitrogen and oxygen. An insulating effect is not a greenhouse effect and does not play a major role in controlling planetary core or surface temperatures.

        So, you are welcome to read my 20 page paper Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures and I am happy to respond to any questions or comments on the contents thereof.

      • Norman says:


        Your equation may work okay for Alabama but it does not work at all for Las Vegas.

        Using this day

        and following your directions for the following night time low

        Looking at the High temp for July, 28 2012 you convert to C and get 41C. The dew point is -17C. Taking 41+(-17) you get 24C divide by 2 and you have 12C. Minus between 1 or 5 C and you chose 4 you get a low of 8C. The night time low folling the high was 27C. Why is Vegas so hot? The night is clear according to the log.

        You are correct I am a bit confused but I do thank you for your time in explaining it to me. It may take me some time but I do like to learn and can figure most things out with time (within reasonable limits of keeping with a 3D space concept…higher dimensions throws me for a loop).

        Some of your ideas are not clear to me. One about the water vapor moving around so a local area won’t be influenced.

        One thing I found is that most water vapor is found below 10,000 feet so the wind patterns and effects above this level would not seem to have much effect on water vapor concentration.

        If you look at a month of data for Las Vegas and Maxwell Alabama you will see the water vapor does actually stay in the area or stay away.

        The amount of water vapor in the air even on clear days and nights is much higher on a long term basis than in Las Vegas. Vegas only shows high humidity during rain events. Overall the air in Montgomery Alabama has much more actual water vapor yet it temps are cooler. For evaporative cooling that could keep the Alabama air cooler during the day but I am not sure this it taking place because as the day warms the Relative Humidity drops considerably and if a lot of moisture was added to the air it should stay higher. Also this would not work to cool the night time air since the R.H. goes into the 90% range and evaporation rate slows considerably in high humid conditions. So I still fail to see why Alabama would cool at similar to rates of Las Vegas. What is going on with the night time radiation? Why isn’t the high amount of water vapor in the Alabama night air grinding the cooling to a halt? This high humidity goes on for long extended time frames like a continuous pattern. Anyway you may have good explanations for all this. I wish I could find a long term study on this effect. Doug Cotton is the first I even considered it and started to look at available evidence. It is such an assumed fact that night times in deserts are so cold I did not even think to question this as I thought it was correct.

        • Norman says:


          Sorry I neglected to put in links for my above discussion with you.

          Las Vegas month of July 2012

          Maxwell, Alabama month of June 2012

          • Norman says:


            When I pull up an extreme case and night time cooling rate, it definately favors Doug Cotton. You may have a better explanation than his (which is water vapor actually speeds cooling by radiating energy quicker to higher levels of the atmosphere. These are real world cases and complex as it seems I still do not see any reasonable evidence water vapor is acting to slow down cooling, nor do I see the high energy content of very humid air slowing down the cooling.

            The highest recorded Heat Index was in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia July 8, 2003. It reached 174.5F (79.2C). The air temp was at 105.8 with a R.H. of 72%. Air with an enormous amount of water vapor present. The High temp was an hour ealier at 109.4 (43C). Even with this very high WV content the temperature dropped to 86F (30C) the following night. The diurnal range was 23.4F (13C)

            Day profile of Dhahran on July 8, 2003 and the night of July 9, 2003 which is listed as clear conditions.

            Under clear conditions with only 4% R.H. Las Vegas dropped 28.1 F the evening of July 27-28.


            Another note is that Dhahran is only 17 meters above sea level while Las Vegas is 665 meters. I have found that diurnal range is heavily empacted by altitude (as has Doug Cotton).

            I compared the absolute humidity of both air masses and found that on that day Dhahran had about 19 times more water vapor than Las Vegas. Using:

            So a water vapor concentration 19 times greater gives you a few degrees F and maybe not that much if you adjust for altitude. Phoneix Arizona seems to have a diurnal range of around 25F in the month of June which is a dry month with few clouds (at least in 2012).

            If that much more water vapor in the air can hardly slow down the night time cooling then it must be a very weak insulation type material indeed and it is by far stated as the most important GHG.

  79. Mike M says:

    How much energy is represented by the amount required to melt the ice lost from the Arctic and various glaciers over the last ~25 years? Did Trenberth subtract that energy from his ‘missing heat’ or not?

    Consider that there is no change in temperature when water changes from one state to another so temperature cannot represent heat energy difference for such a change.

  80. Doug Cotton (DJC) says:


    Do you seriously think that I was not aware of virtually everything you wrote – at least that which is correct? Do you not think I am aware of the stabilising effect of bodies of water? Why then would I deliberately exclude regions within 100Km of the coast or large bodies of inland water in my study? Do you seriously think I am not aware of the effect of altitude? Why then would I restrict my study to regions between 0 and 1,200m altitude and, furthermore, then adjust temperature data to what it would have been at 600m using an estimate of the thermal gradient? Do you seriously think I am unaware of transpiration, or the fact that radiative flux is proportional to the fourth power of absolute temperature, as per the Stefan Boltzmann Law which is derived by integration of the Planck Function, about which there is plenty in my peer-reviewed paper “Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics” published in March 2012 on several websites.

    But are you aware of the process of heat creep or Kinetic Theory or the implications of the entropy conditions of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, or the reason why radiation does not transfer thermal energy to objects which are warmer than the source? Do you understand the reasons why the thermal gradient in the outer crust is very different from that in the core or that in the atmosphere? Do you understand the common mechanisms which produce all these gradients and why they all closely relate to the quotient of the force of gravity and the specific heat? This is of fundamental importance in understanding supporting temperatures which control surface and subsurface temperatures.

    In regard to global wind patterns, these are discussed in my paper and explained using valid physics. I wonder if you have ever even thought about the “funnel effect” discussed therein. In a nutshell, TonyM, anything you have learnt in your meteorology or climatology is out there on the internet for anyone to study, and knowledge can be gained with or without a piece of paper to certify such. What you lack is the necessary understanding of atmospheric physics which must go hand-in-hand with other such knowledge. There are numerous errors in physics that are promulgated in the meteorology and climatology literature that I have read, I can assure you. The explanations of badly named “lapse rates” are way out.

    You miss the whole point of the study in the Appendix of my paper. That study is currently being extended to many more cities and the results are still looking to be as I would expect.

    The fact is that the study does show statistically significant cooler temperatures in inland tropical cities with the highest rainfall. So local conditions in the atmosphere above do in fact cause significant differences in the surface temperatures below.

    But the temperatures are cooler, not warmer as you appear to expect.

    The greenhouse conjecture very clearly hinges upon the assumption that water vapour has caused a mean increase in surface temperatures of at least 25 degrees – probably more like 30 degrees.

    The exact opposite is demonstrated in real world temperatures, and water vapour in fact causes mean surface cooling of about 5 degrees. The solid and valid physics explaining why this is so may be read in my paper.

    What is in my paper is backed up by solid empirical evidence of various kinds. What is in greenhouse propaganda is not.

  81. Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

    Roy and TonyB

    This warrants repeating …

    You cannot prove that radiation from a colder atmosphere would in any way make the Venus surface hotter than the maximum temperature which the direct Solar radiation could warm it up to like about 150K.

    Radiation from a cooler atmosphere, be it on Earth or Venus, can only slow the rate of radiative cooling of a hotter surface. It cannot make the surface hotter than the Sun could with direct radiation.

    Even several blankets cannot make your body temperature higher than normal and give you a fever. On Venus that direct Solar radiation reaching the surface is only about 10% of that which the Earths surface receives. Even if all that energy goes back by radiation into the atmosphere, and then back down again as back radiation to the surface, it will not further heat the surface above what it did when it was first absorbed. It is the same energy. The surface cooled again when it left the surface. You cannot create more energy this way, no matter how many iterations you have of radiation leaving (and cooling) the surface and then all of it coming back to warm it. Of course not all of it does come back anyway, so radiation on Venus can only account for surface temperatures well below freezing point – not well above 720K.

    If I had it to spare I’d give anyone a million dollars if they could prove that direct Solar radiation (together with resulting back radiation using the same energy in the initial direct Solar radiation) could heat the surface of Venus to the observed temperatures.

    • TonyB says:

      You seem to miss the whole point. The IPCC is trying to claim that normal mean percentages of water vapour supposedly raise the surface temperature by 30 degrees. My paper proves why that is not the case. Do you think you can express any valid physics which leads to a different conclusion and, specifically, proves anything in my paper wrong?

      No my entire response to you is to say that the GHE is present (a constant) inherent within the turbulent ( not diffusing ) atmosphere. The IPCC is saying that if by some magical way WV is removed from the atmosphere then radiation balance would be achieved with the average global temp 33C below now. I see no problem with that. I do not accept that your paper proves different. Simple as that. I cannot prove your theory wrong. I am not a physicist (and may I point out you are not a meteorologist). I can only give you the benefit of my observations over my career. Remember meteorology is a science that is permanently in the test tube in the lab undergoing an experiment in real time, by which we can see and measure the outcomes.

      You say the GHE does not exist. I tell you that I have seen it in action many times and used its expected effects in forecasts. YET you will not give me an explanation (edit just seen the base accusation of me lower down the post I take it you dont believe me then?).

      The only radiation which penetrates water is that from the Sun, not that from a cooler atmosphere. Neither density nor pressure cause temperature to increase or decrease. Temperature is proportional to (and dependent only upon) mean molecular kinetic energy, and that can only be altered by either conversion of other energy such as gravitational potential energy, or by energy input or output. When night becomes day, the new energy absorbed by the atmosphere from incident Solar radiation spreads out in accord with the process of heat creep (first explained in my paper) which can be explained using a valid application of the laws of physics.

      Some energy exchange occurs when warm air advects over cold seas. It is how sea fog is created for one ( vis in the US the fogs of LA ). But of course most energy is from the sun. If pressure cannot cause temp. to increase then explain how my bicycle pump/tyre heats up with increasing pressure then cools on release? I was taught it is because work was being done on it. The point is though, that it is the density that decreases with height in the adiabatic parcel via work being done on the parcel’s surroundings and so buoyancy is achieved. Again you persist with this notion of heat creep, by which I take it you mean diffusion. No. The atmosphere reacts much more rapidly than that ( it would takes days/weeks for heat to spread in air via diffusion ) and any heat differences are (very quickly) transferred into vertical motion. Or in the cause of cyclones etc, via divergence aloft caused by thermal winds ( again a PRESSURE difference ) caused by a horizontal temperature gradient. A Baroclinic zone found aloft a front. All movement in the atmosphere is caused by a temperature differential and a corresponding rapid movement caused by density differences created. Your theory cannot work in the real world. ALL these laws are in the equations performed by their billions in NWP models. They dont get it wrong ( as in completely, stupidly wrong ). Hurricane Sandy was forecast to turn left into N Y because these equations are correct. It is only the incomplete starting conditions and the inherent chaos in the system that cause forecasts to diverge from reality with time.

      No greenhouse effect ever was or ever will be responsible for the temperatures on Earth or any planet. Such a conjecture is simply not in accord with the laws of physics. There is only an insulating effect provided by the atmosphere, and most of that is due to nitrogen and oxygen. An insulating effect is not a greenhouse effect and does not play a major role in controlling planetary core or surface temperatures.

      You persist in this when I have 3 times now related to you a common example of the GHE. That of thin Cirrus cloud, 6 miles up re-radiating IR back to a road surface (admittedly the road has to be sub-zero to see it) and raise its temperature by up to 1C. This is a thin layer of water in solid phase at a temp of at least 30C. How does that happen in your book? Also freezing fog formation raises the surface temp (often to above zero) as ground heat flux is increased the re-radiated IR from the fog droplets resetting the balance. PS: I do hope you have the integrity to believe what I say. There most certainly is a GHE. I have seen it happening innumerable times and made forecasts utilising it in the equations. And they work. AS all met organisations in the world will tell you.

      I realise to take on board what I say as being the case means that you theory falls apart. And I do not expect you to do so. We are loath to give up our world-view.

      Also, I have read your 20 page paper. AS I said at the out set, some posts back.

      Do you seriously think that I was not aware of virtually everything you wrote at least that which is correct? Do you not think I am aware of the stabilising effect of bodies of water? Why then would I deliberately exclude regions within 100Km of the coast or large bodies of inland water in my study? Do you seriously think I am not aware of the effect of altitude?

      I do actually think that. Look, Mr Cotton, you are a physicist (how much involves experimentation I do not know). And I am a retired Meteorologist. I take it you accept that? Your responses to me have indicated that your grasp of meteorology is tenuous at best (no insult, why would it be). You may well say that of me (re physics). But my physics is the classical type that has been tried/tested for more than century. It works and doesnt need fixing.

      Also I only mentioned altitude in reply to Norman. Not you.

      Do you seriously think I am unaware of transpiration, or the fact that radiative flux is proportional to the fourth power of absolute temperature, as per the Stefan Boltzmann Law which is derived by integration of the Planck Function, about which there is plenty in my peer-reviewed paper Radiated Energy and the Second Law of Thermodynamics published in March 2012 on several websites.

      Again Mr Cotton that was for the benefit of Norman sheesh ! (NOT an insult aimed at you).

      . or the reason why radiation does not transfer thermal energy to objects which are warmer than the source? Do you understand the reasons why the thermal gradient in the outer crust is very different from that in the core or that in the atmosphere?

      Well, yes of course I thought that was established as obvious. BUT it does slow down heat-flux up to the surface in back re-radiation. Which is all it needs to do to provide the 33C extra. (established over days I suspect).
      My expertise/experience is the Earths atmosphere. I will not be drawn into discussion of the crust nor Venus. Full stop.

      In a nutshell, TonyM, anything you have learnt in your meteorology or climatology is out there on the internet for anyone to study, and knowledge can be gained with or without a piece of paper to certify such. What you lack is the necessary understanding of atmospheric physics which must go hand-in-hand with other such knowledge. There are numerous errors in physics that are promulgated in the meteorology and climatology literature that I have read, I can assure you. The explanations of badly named lapse rates are way out.

      A ha the worm turns. You dont have integrity.

      I am TonyB BTW. Mr Cotton I have not accused you of plagiary, of getting your ideas from the internet. That is the basest comment from a science professional to another. And proves beyond dont that you are a charlatan. Or at the very least having a bad day.
      I, necessarily keep my comments to a basic level in order to best communicate them. AND I have not insulted you (neither by inference posting to Norman).

      You really have the gall to accuse a (ex) professional UKMO Forecaster (for the 2nd time) of lacking the necessary understanding of atmospheric physics ?????????????? AGAIN

      Excuse me – how does that work ??????

      My Met. theory is as I have been taught and practised over that career. I have my Met.Office Forecasters Reference Book by my side and a briefcase full of lecture notes. ALL I have posted I have practised (AND MOST IMPORTANTLY OBSERVED trumps theory Im afraid. Sorry.) by forecasting at RAF/civilian airfields and for commercial organisations, including local councils in respect of very close monitoring of road surface temperatures re ice/snow.

      You really do take the biscuit Mr Cotton. Truly arrogant and I would say a prime example of the Dunning-Kruger Syndrome. With the added twist of thinking he has reinvented the wheel.

      A note to others on here.
      This is how the guy responds when backed up to a wall with no response faced with real world meteorology, other than to bleat on about his paper, but not give me an answer to explain a real world GHE.
      Get back to your brainless (but supported by the laws of physics) ideas.

      My colleagues continue to look 24/7 at the processes of atmospheric physics in action that you say they lack the necessary understanding of atmospheric physics, they would be interested to know.
      I take no lessons in Meteorology (certainly not the basics I have recounted) from you. I have come across this attitude from complete dummy Denialists and that is bad enough, but the staggering ignorance you have given witness to on here beggars belief. Are you that desperate to prove AGW wrong?
      Mr Cotton. Maybe this is your MO: I came to this website very recently and took you to be reasonable man with an interesting if provably potty idea ( an ideal atmosphere/planetary surface may exhibit some of what you say but this one surely doesnt not even close ). The Lunatics really DONT run the asylum you know? Not in my world anyway.

      Thank God

      • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

        Your bicycle tyre warms a little because the air being pumped is warmed by friction. Try pumping your four car tyres to a range of different pressures, and the next morning they will all be at ambient temperature, regardless of pressure differences between them, and much larger pressure differences between them and the air on the outside. As you admit, you don’t know much physics, and that stands out a mile. Having taught students for nearly 50 years, I can easily pick those who don’t understand physics, even if they can rattle off a few equations and laws.

        I stand by what I have written, and physics stands by me. Your “physics” for a start is quite against the Ideal Gas Law, and also contrary to the Kinetic Theory used by Einstein and the entropy conditions of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. But until you understand the solid logical development in my paper, you will have no idea why.

        You think the reasons why the thermal gradients in the mantle, crust and atmosphere are very different from each other is obvious do you? Then what would you calculate them to be by whatever physics you think is very obvious?

        You might be surprised to know that I have studied quite a bit of climatology and meteorology literature and the pseudo physics contained throughout it all. The internet is an effective university.

        What I’m doing is pointing out (as other physicists have also done) that the “physics” used in meteorology is often a far cry from being valid or even recognisable by physicists.

        You have just given an example when you persist in claiming that temperature is a direct function of pressure. Try pumping much colder air into a balloon with a thermometer inside it. Then try pumping much warmer air into another balloon. Check the temperatures inside immediately, and again after an hour or two, and they will then be close to the ambient temperature outside the balloons, despite the differences in pressure. The warm balloon will have cooled, and the cold balloon will have warmed.

        Again, you are totally wrong in assuming radiation, back radiation, carbon dioxide or water vapour causes the surface to warm by 33 degrees. No valid physics supports this guess.

        You cannot transfer thermal energy from the cooler atmosphere to the warmer surface, and if you just say it slows the cooling, then I have to point out that the Sun could never have warmed it the required amount by direct radiation in the first place. This is blatantly obvious on Venus, for which you cannot explain how the required energy gets into the surface by any other means than “heat creep” as first explained in my paper.

        My speciality is atmospheric physics, backed up by a fair knowledge of meteorology and climatology. Without a true understanding of physics, people such as yourself are seriously confusing the public and governments, and causing huge wastes of money and resources in the quest to “control” climate.

        At the very least, you people should have engaged physicists to check your conjectures before foisting them onto the public. If you want to build a multi-million dollar building, perhaps you’d be wise to engage engineers, architects and other professionals with knowledge beyond your own.

        I can tell you in no uncertain terms, that your 33 degrees of warming would, if it happened, be in total contradiction of the laws of physics. Reality is that water vapour cools by about 5 degrees, rather than warms by 30 degrees. You have that in your temperature data, but it is a very inconvenient truth, so none of you ever publishes a simple study like mine.

      • Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

        And yes, I will seek your advice. I am currently expanding my study of temperature data for inland tropical cities at altitudes less than 1200m. I am adjusting the data to what the temperatures would have been at a common altitude of 600m, so as to avoid differences due to altitude. I am using precipitation figures as a reasonable guide to the activity of water vapour as it releases latent heat, for example, leading to precipitation.

        All the data so far clearly indicates (with statistical significance) that regions with higher precipitation have both lower mean daily maximum temperatures as well as lower mean daily minimum temperatures. The general indication is that water vapour has caused a mean cooling effect which, on a world wide basis appears to be of the order of 5 to 8 C degrees. This of course is quite contrary to the assumed 25 to 30 degrees of warming that would be attributable to water vapour if there really were a radiative greenhouse effect functioning as the IPCC would like it to do so.

        My question is, can you pinpoint anything in the documentation of my study in the Appendix of my paper which you believe has somehow caused this conclusion of 5 to 8 degrees of cooling to be totally wrong, and, if so, show me data which confirms the 25 to 30 degrees of warming?

  82. Isle of View says:

    What are the uncertainties – the error bars – on the UAH and RSS measurements?

    As presented, the graph suggests that the “global mean temeperature” can be measured to better than about +/- 0.01C.

  83. Norman says:


    I know you do not agree with Doug Cotton or at least you do not like his online persona, but the data I am looking at still indicates he has something to what he says. At least it needs some really good explanations within the field of meteorology of what is going on.

    I used the online calculator to detemine how much energy the air in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia would have to lose to go from its high to low temp (clear conditions and low to calm winds at the surface). This is for the record setting heat index of July 8, 2003 (in the previous posts).

    The enthalpy of the air at its highest is 130.32 joules/gram. The low temp of 86F has an enthalpy of 80.86 joules/gram. The air would have to lose 49.46 joules/gram of energy to achieve this low.

    I did the same calculation on hot dry Las Vegas air (July 27, 2012). The energy of the hot dry air was 44.95 joules/gram and the energy at the coldest 75.9F was 28.38 joules/gram. The amount of energy this air needed to lose to reach the low temp was 16.57 joules/gram. It turns out the Dhahran air (super moist 19 times more moisture than the Las Vegas air) had to lose almost 3 times the energy of the Vegas air. This does not make sense at all with a GHE of radiation returning to the surface. The energy loss of the air should be considerably less.

    I am not sure why any air movements aloft would effect the rate of radiation loss or how much energy had to be shed to lower the temperature. Since you are a strong advocate of the GHE what meteorological effect caused the air in Dhahran to lose energy at a much greater rate than the dry Las Vegas air? Doug Cotton’s explanation does make sense with what is taking place, the water vapor actually radiates away more energy acting as a coolant.

    • TonyB says:


      “I know you do not agree with Doug Cotton or at least you do not like his online persona, but the data I am looking at still indicates he has something to what he says. At least it needs some really good explanations within the field of meteorology of what is going on”.

      I think you will find that I am not the only one who does not agree with Mr Cotton, and I most certainly do not like his online persona. It is arrogant, and disrespectful in the extreme.
      I have reason to think his presence here in future will be somewhat, ahem, curtailed.

      I have again tried to find data for Dhahran and have been unsuccessful. In the absence of that data I cannot give you a detailed answer. What I suspect happened is that there was a low-level inversion that trapped the ( dangerously extreme ) amount of WV – say just 1000ft, – maybe only hundreds ft vertically thick. The Arabian Gulf with temperatures in the 30’s close-by providing the moisture. Remember the GHE depends on the amount of WV in the vertical, as that is the way IR wants to leave the Earth – so if that moisture is capped, at say 500ft by extremely DRY desert air then after the temporary restriction in that surface layer the IR radiates to space without any, actually, especially well, because of the majority of the atmosphere being exceptionally dry. The desert air having come from a descent ( warming/drying ) below the sub-tropical jet. What was the wind that day? was it blowing in from the Gulf ( probable as a sea breeze – cool/er to hot ) and continually being replaced by slightly cooler air. Advection of air will always destroy a GHE effect if it comes from a source that does not have it ( to the same degree ). Air over water does not have it as latent heat dominates. Evaporation from a water body cools the air. Some AC systems utilise this.

      I’d hoped I’d explained that the WV (or lack of it) in the air at LA was not affecting the surface temperature as turbulent mixing down of the air aloft was acting essentially as a thermostat and allowing little temp change to be exhibited there. That does not mean that the cooling effect was not working in the atmosphere, merely that its effect was not localised in a shallow layer at the surface.
      Please do not look upon the GHE effect as a rapid, almost instantaneous effect. It is just the re-balancing, by a small overall amount of the flux between the ground temp rising from the first metre or of the soil/rock/etc. So in any 12hr night there is only a small effect. The air just above the surface shows greatest sensitivity, due it’s proximity to the ground with continual back-scatter (imagine a tennis ball bouncing between two close surfaces – there are many more bounces/interactions than between the ground and WV molecules higher up).

      I have found this upper-air temp/humidity profile vividly depicting a moist/foggy surface layer, overlain by very dry. It is from Norman, Oklahoma .

      I cannot find a date and the surface temp may be influenced by snow-cover but….

      See how the surface air is saturated at near freezing but that just 20mb (600ft) above, the dew pt drops in stages to 20C at 2000ft and 36C by 5000ft (above station level which is near 1000ft)
      The GE effect of the moisture (95-100% rel hum ) is overcome by radiation to space from the TOP of that moist layer and the whole layer cools (more slowly than if it had been dry) as a result.

      The LA situation had that surface layer of (dry) air continually being replaced by air from aloft. Air that did NOT have the surface physics working on it until it came down (and the GHE on it aloft was mixed through a very large volume of air as a result of its turbulence). A conveyor belt if you like whereby the surface GHE was continually being hidden from the thermometer by this replacement.

      I can only repeat. Meteorology is a complicated process of cause effect and counter effect. Things get balanced out and a good thing too, as if things such as the GHE did operate in isolation then, well, the planet would be unlivable on. As I tried to explain earlier in this thread – it is convection, latent heat and turbulence that distribute heat/mix the atmosphere. Certainly not diffusion (though there is that just above the surface). Air is an EXTREMEMLY good insulator with a thermal conductivity equivalent to cotton wool. Any cancelling of temp gradients by that process would take weeks/months, as would a build up via an unbalanced GHE (unless the entire depth of the atmosphere was moist, but still not cloudy impossible). Convection kicks in instantly. Fill a balloon with warm air. I just yesterday saw a demonstration of a 1in thick piece of aero-gel being heated from below by a direct blow-torch flame at 1000C. A chocolate confection was placed on top. Result nothing, not touched, and this could go on for some time. Aero-gel is 99.8% air, the rest silica.

      Look, it is no mystery Norman, and it is only the GW skeptics that are raising any in a desperate attempt to grove it wrong. The worlds NWP models know the physics and they are not wrong, bar incomplete starting conditions and chaos. I have seen the GHE numerous times, and that (experiment/observation) will always trump theory. I ask you to take my word for it – and unlike a certain person, take it that the people whose profession it is to look at the atmosphere on a daily basis, and the empirical laws, are not wrong, they have been proved s correct for over a century. I hate to revert to this analogy but would you question your doctor on his diagnosis, on the basis that medical science is wrong? Especially, just because a psychic surgeon say, said he was?

      The GHE takes place(most effectively) in moist air – which is in flux, distributing it to the vast volume of the atmosphere as it mixes.


      • Norman says:


        I thank you for taking the time to share your expertise with me. On the Dhahran wind speed on July 9, 2003 night time as the air is cooling, the winds were blowing in from the west around 6 miles/hr. This wind would be moving air from land toward Dhahran. Looking at the high R.H. of the air it does not go down until 4:00 AM but the temp is still dropping at a regular pace. The Gulf is on the East side of the city.

        My degree is in Chemistry (many years ago, a BA) but I have learned spectroanaylsis. Absorption works on a logrithmic scale. The length a photon can travel before absorption is determined by the concentration of the absorbing material. At this time I cannot determine if your suggestion that the moist air might only be 100 feet deep would make a weak greenhouse effect.

        I would hope you could explain this to me, you state “Please do not look upon the GHE effect as a rapid, almost instantaneous effect.” Radiation moves very rapidly so it seems it would have an instant effect on a local region that should be easy to measure. If radiation was slowed by huge amounts of WV present in Dhahran air, it should be an instantaneous effect because the radiation is moving so rapidly. Not a slow process like conduction.

        Where ever the wind is moving the high energy Dhahran air, it seems to be losing the energy at a faster rate than dry air. But as you state temperature measurements are very complex and require lots of information to correctly interpret.

        On this point “As I tried to explain earlier in this thread it is convection, latent heat and turbulence that distribute heat/mix the atmosphere.” During the day these processes dominate which is why to determine a GHE you would not try to see it during the day in temp data. This is why I was looking at night time cooling rates. Convection goes way down during the night since it was during the day that transported the warmed surface air aloft and heated it which slows down further convection (reduction of buoyancy).

        You said you have seen experiments proving the greenhouse effect. This is what I most crave, experimental evidence. I have not found much of it. If you can lead me to some actual experimental tests that confirm the GHE I would be thankful.

        Also note, I would always question a Doctor’s diagnosis. When someone in my family has a problem I do look up the conditions on the Internet to see the possibilities. Sometimes doctors are wrong and it does not hurt to question them. Because of your experience in the field your opinions on the matter carry greater weight than other opinions but it does not mean you are above being questioned on you knowledge.

        Remember the thinkers with the Earth centered Universe. They had brilliant ideas, excellent logic and complex thinking to match observation. They were able to describe why the planets appeared to stop in their path across the sky and move backwards. The only thing they did wrong was with their initial assumption. All science starts with some assumption. One can have a perfect logic and rational conclusion but it can still be completely wrong if the initial assumption was wrong.

        I have another line of questions for you if you are interested. I found this information about Mt. Everest in the summer. It seems the day and night temperatures only vary by a few degrees. I am not sure why this would be if the GH theory is the correct and proven path of understanding. At 29000 feet there is little water vapor to provide backradiation at night and the Carbon Dioxide amount is much less at that elevation. It could be some meteorological explanation. Maybe at night warm air from below moves up the mountain to prevent drastic temperature drops in this thin air that has much less GHG than sea level.

        “The warmest months, July and August, seem to average around -2F-0F (-16C to -18C) during the night and perhaps a few degrees above this during the day. I would speculate that the warmest temperature to ever be reached on the summit to be in the 10-15F (range -10C to -12C) on still and sunny days.”

        From this article on Everest (people bring thermometers with them when they climb the peak).

        On your Cirrus cloud example of proving GHE. Don’t cirrus clouds form with an advancing warm front? Maybe the warming was do to advection of warmer air moving into the area not a GHE.

        • TonyB says:


          The GHE effect is just a background process. It is always there and is mixed in the temperature flux. Its degree varies with the amount of WV in the air, yes, but remember it is merely a temporary restriction to photons on their exit to space. When fog forms for instance, although the cooling of the layer at the surface is slowed, and when the fog obscures the sky, stops. Cooling still takes place from the top of the fog ( if clear above ). This is why CO2 high in the atmosphere cools the upper layers ( greater with greater quantity ). Because the fog top then becomes colder, an unstable temp profile forms in the foggy layer ( cold above warm relative to a SALR ) and a CONVECTIVE regime becomes established weak yes, but serving to slowly overturn the foggy layer and MIX some of the colder air down. Hence the surface can still cool further. What you also find with freezing fog is that the fog can drop out ( rime/hoar forming on objects ) and this then opens up the sky to allow further cooling and serving to lower the absolute humidity too.

          Most convection does die away at around dusk, yes. But there are exceptions. The one above is one. Also the greater atmosphere isnt stabilised in depth. It is to surface based convection but unstable layers can still be present higher up. Thunderstorms developing/advecting during the night is quite common. With Supercells having their own internal momentum. Partly by inherent very moist/hot air and consequent latent heat release but also because wind shear can occur setting off convection in potentially unstable layers. Cloud tops are also cooled via radiation to space. Yes a Cumulus/Cb top at night cools ( relative to the cloud in the rising parcel of air below NOT relative to the air its climbing through ). Result greater instability, and possible greater vertical travel.

          I have not seen experiments ( as in a lab ) but routinely at night whilst monitoring road surface temps I have observed thin cloud lift the surface temp. The Cirrus was particularly troublesome as it happened when the road temp was near Zero and would cause/prevent a dip either side of zero. Vitally important when the concern was formation of black ice.
          And no, Cirrus cloud is not only associated with advancing warm fronts. In any case with a frontal slope of near 1:100 to 150 the warm air at the surface would be up to 900ml away anyway. Cirrus is common in isolated patches/areas, often left over from decayed CB or at exits/entrances to jets/troughs.
          Yes, thin ice cloud 6 miles up can indeed back-radiate IR sufficiently to raise a road temp a few tenths of a degree C, maybe up to a degree at a road temp of around 2C. This from ice at a temp of 30 to 40C. Cold to warm. Of course its not heating the road, merely allowing the ground heat flux through more until re-balance.

          Re the Docs diagnosis. I of course agree with you. Its the precautionary principle. I did add from a Psychic surgeon. It depend on the advice you turn to as an alternative. Of course there are Maveriks in any field, which is why youll never get 100% agreement. See my last post re Mr Cotton.

          Mt Everest would not show a large ( if any really ) diurnal temp range. The summit of Everest ( or any other high peak ) is effectively in free air. The majority of cooling and heating effectively take place from the ground up with little change in the high free atmosphere (over 12hrs of night anyway). Any cooling would be tiny overnight due to the lack of solid ground close to that level ( think of a TV mast top ). It is therefore divorced from a combined conductive/radiative coupling with the ground/snow surface. Heating via the day would require convection to bring heat up to that level, which would be very small, even if it exists (stable atmosphere). Most diurnal changes I would expect would be masked by slow temp changes in the air being advected ( blown in ) across the peak.

          What I understand re absorption is that the bulk of cooling in contact with the ground is via a radiation exchange mechanism, whereby photons bounce between WV molecules in the surface layer ( just a few 10s of feet really ) and the ground then re-radiates it more effectively causing enhanced cooling via radiation close to the surface. Some conduction takes place but that is small note my comment earlier about the effectiveness of air as an insulator.

          If the greenhouse effect was unaffected by the shallow depth of moisture. That would be like saying that it would be the same whether the depth was 100ft or 6 miles. Intuitively it is not – a shorter restriction on the photon path would be bound to have a lesser (GHE) than a longer one. If not then the shallow layer would rapidly be heated and pass the inversion so breaking-up the fog. This is not observed. See my explanation above.

          Radiation moves very rapidly so it seems it would have an instant effect on a local region that should be easy to measure. If radiation was slowed by huge amounts of WV present in Dhahran air, it should be an instantaneous effect because the radiation is moving so rapidly. Not a slow process like conduction

          It is, of course, near instantaneous in the restriction process – but you forget the photons DO escape. They are not captured permanently just that their path to escape to space is more tortuous than in drier air. It is just a short hold up in energy escape leading to a re-balancing (at night) of heat flux up from the ground with that back-radiated from GHGs in the atmosphere. Then all is in equilibrium. It does NOT keep mounting up. That is only dependent on increasing the hold-up of the photons, which comes down to the absolute humidity and depth of moisture. As the temp drops it forms fog at the surface then rel hum increases but actually abs hum may go down as moisture is precipitated out as dew. So decreasing the GHE.

          PS: I found this link that may make things a little clearer at least on some aspects.


          • Norman says:


            Thanks again for giving answers to my questions. I may come up with more in time but I want to read through the link you sent first. Best to educate then the questions are of better quality.

  84. Hello there! I simply want to give you a huge thumbs up for
    the excellent information you have right here on this post.
    I am coming back to your blog for more soon.

  85. Doug Cotton (DJC) says:

    That’s good. Enjoy my new article The Old Wives’ tales of Climatology.

  86. Doug Cotton says:

    My response to anyone is in my final comment on Roy’s latest thread.

    • TonyB says:

      Mr Cotton


      And take you crackpot ideas and overbearingly arrogant attitude and delusions of superiority/omniscience elsewhere.

      I believe we will not be hearing from here again.

      • Doug Cotton says:

        How about you answer the question “How does the required thermal energy get into the surface of Venus?”

        When you can do so, you might then care to explain why the thermal gradient in the outer crust of Earth is so much steeper than that in the inner mantle.

        Then explain why each and every one of the points in this article is apparently invalid in your eyes and your “physics” because I will argue the physics of the situation with anyone regardless of their “authority” or reputation, education, age or experience.

        If they propagate an affront to physics then that will be made public – just as I have written three articles (each read by perhaps 20,000) which point out the glaring errors made by Roy Spencer which many of us at PSI easily recognise.

        I am not alone, you know. I just happen to be one of the authors representing over 200 members of PSI all of whom recognise that carbon dioxide has no significant effect on climate, and with some of whom I am in contact several times a day.

        Your verbiage is typical of those floundering for any valid explanation of the lies they propagate. It’s like water off a duck’s back to me. It will only take one person to prove me wrong. That has not yet happened, and I doubt that you will be the first, or anyone you can muster.

        So I throw down the gauntlet to Roy and any reader – prove my paper wrong!

  87. TonyB says:

    “So I throw down the gauntlet to Roy and any reader prove my paper wrong!”

    I did not read anything after may last post to you and only reply to this arrogant offering. Not wishing to have my blood boil again.

    – I did do, but you have not the integrity to accept my greater knowledge of the atmosphere due to my professional position and observation during 32 years. I could have made the same accusation of you, but did not, due to my respect of “specialist professions” having specialist knowledge of their fields of science and having the required integrity on a science website to take people’s word.

    That attitude is beneath contempt in itself. But further.

    You at no point answered my question – you know what it is – regarding GHE re-radiation to a ground surface from a small amount of moisture 6 miles up. Either you do not believe me, or you cannot give an answer that fits your crackpot “theory”.

    I say again, what should be blindingly obvious to those that watch weather – convection rules. And indeed density reduction with height allows buoyancy. Physics may not be able to gainsay you, but that does not mean you are correct. One needs to apply common sense and OBSERVE the atmosphere to see what happens. That I have done. And your overbearingly dismissive and superior attitude is what makes this a fruitless discussion on my part. As others ( apparently ) on here have discovered too. Now go away and find some other website to be insulting to people.

  88. Doug Cotton says:

    My attitude is one of anger at the huge waste of $100,000,000,000 a year that could be far better spent on humanitarian aid than on carbon dioxide aid which has no benefit at all.

    Radiation from the atmosphere slows that portion of surface cooling which is itself by radiation. The amount of such slowing by carbon dioxide is minuscule, but that by water vapour is observable, as we can easily notice on a calm night with low clouds.

    That’s about as far as you can go with weather observations. It does not establish that the net effect of water vapour is a warming of perhaps 25 to 30 degrees, as is claimed by the IPCC in the greenhouse effect conjecture.

    To understand the big picture, and to explain why regions with higher precipitation have lower mean daily maximum and minimum temperatures (as in the study in the Appendix of my 20 page paper “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures” then you need to delve into more advanced concepts in physics, and, in particular, you need Kinetic Theory (such as used by Einstein) and you also need to take into account the maximum entropy conditions required for thermodynamic (not thermal) equilibrium – as per the Second Law of Thermodynamics. All this belongs to the profession of physics in which I am well versed (for about 50 years) as are other members of Principia Scientific International, including those with PhD’s in physics and a well known professor of physics who carries out experiments in the climate arena. We also have meteorologists among our 200 members, who all realise that carbon dioxide has no effect on climate.

    People such as this have reviewed this article of mine prior to publication, and you could learn from it. Much of what climatologists propagate is a complete travesty of physics.

    Now come back with an explanation of the thermal gradient observed in the troposphere of the planet Uranus, as discussed on Roy’s latest thread.

    Do not expect Principia Scientific International to lie down quietly and disappear.

  89. TonyB says:


    I did wonder ….

    Strange personality.
    Surely you agree that his theory is away with the fairies
    He seems to have no concept of convection with his heat creep idea.
    Has he not looked at the behaviour of clouds even?
    And his Met. knowledge came across as, shall we say, sketchy.
    The concept that pressure falls with height is perfectly well explained via the hydrostatic equation and gas laws. Doesnt air in a pump heat up because of work being done on it, and cool during expansion for the opposite reason?
    Strikes me as an example of someone who has his head in the equations, and unable/unwilling to apply it to the real world. I have come across this before so called clever people being totally unable to apply/use common sense. One may well find it difficult to prove him wrong using the Laws of Physics but observation/experiment will trump theory every time.
    Quite, quite bizarre.

    I can understand him defending his idea, but when he becomes ad hominem and arrogant and disrespectful, well …. I take it he has done the same to others?
    I dont know how many meteorologists come to your site and how many he may have tangled with – perhaps my experience is unique away from the UK. I was a Forecaster briefing military jet pilots for training missions ( usually low level ). Then went into commercial forcasting ( energy, media, councils and civil airfield forecasts ). For the councils we have a product that monitors road surface temps against a forecast graph, re ice and snow. Many, many times I observed the GHE effect in operation, as you will read in my posts.

    I dont know where you stand exactly in the debate, but to me it ( the GHE ) is a certainty.

    Would you mind if I posted this mail up at the end of the thread ? … as he seems to have this pathological need to have the last word.


    • Douglas JCotton says:

      Heat creep is convection which spreads out in all available directions away from a source a new (additional) thermal energy. It is not unlike when you pour a bucket of water into the centre of a swimming pool and the extra water spreads out until all calms down and the surface is microscopically higher.

      However, in a gravitational field the “platform” over which the extra energy spreads out is actually a sloping thermal plane, and so some of the extra energy reaches the surface, or the base of the troposphere if there is no surface, as on Uranus. Of course it has taken many years to reach the existing equilibrium state. Or there may have been cooling from an initial much hotter state. Either way, measurements now show radiative equilibrium.

      So how would you explain by any other means how the required thermal energy gets to the base of the troposphere on Uranus and warms it to 320K, given that total incident Solar radiation at TOA is about 2.7W/m^2?

      If you or anyone has trouble understanding “heat creep” in my paper “Planetary Core and Surface Temperatures” I am happy to explain. However it really needs you to refer to the diagrams in the paper.

      The Ideal Gas Law tells us that pressure is proportional to the product of temperature and density. It does not tell us anything else. What do you think does? See my article “The Old Wives’ Tales of Climatology.”

  90. TonyB says:

    “Would you mind if I posted this mail up at the end of the thread ? as he seems to have this pathological need to have the last word.”


  91. interesting blog

  92. Nice work. I liked the way you put this info forward with well written content and included the facts without over stating them. Well done.

  93. freeman says:

    Bengal cats are very chatty. It seems like they have the need to communicate about everything, especially when they are trying to tell you that they need or want

    something. If you ignore them, they will most likely become louder. They can meow in a range of different tones, from sharp to low, giving the impression of a wild

    animal Weblink:

  94. qlvine says:

    I really like to do SEO because it helps me to grow my business by generating leads. SEO will always be beneficial for everyone but we have to keep patience and always work under the rules of white Hat SEO.

    I agree with you that, SEO leads to certain penalties which can cause the ranking and brand of business but if we following all the guidelines and algorithms by Google then there is no way we get penalized.


  95. charleswood says:

    I was recommended this website by means of my cousin. I am not certain whether or not this put
    up is written via him as nobody else recognise such particular about my difficulty.
    You are wonderful! Thank you!

  96. Buy top quality handgunss, rifless, shortgunss and other firearmss and have them shipped discreetly to your address.
    We do same day shipment, and tracking information

    is provided as soon as shipment is made.
    All products come with manual and most of them are still in box but not all are brand new.
    These are not stolen and theres a

    sales document issued for each.
    We also ship to an FFL for those who prefer it that way.
    Please feel free to visit our website

  97. Medical pills is an online pharmacy. We are serving people by our cheap and legitimate services in prescription medications. We are based in USA and serving our

    customers world wide. We have license to sell (prescription) drugs by the way of wholesale, issued by the government of the United States. We are official partners

    with PharmaGen Research Laboratories Pvt Ltd, and there are 7 online pharmacies who partner with us.

  98. Maryanne says:

    We are dealers in the most recent car models and brands. We sell TOYOTA, MERCEDES, KIA, FORD, HUNDAI, HONDA, SUZUKI, JEEP and many more. We also deal in categories like Sedans, coupe, convertibles, truck, SUVs and many more.
    Feel free to contact us using the information below
    Email: [email protected] / [email protected]
    TEL: +12027433098
    Use any of the methods above to get in touch

  99. Alex Jackson says:

    All our banknotes pass the counterfeit detection tests and
    can be used in banks, ATMs, Shopping malls, and any other business that accept cash. We do discreet overnight shipping and
    we do have a return policy for all packages that have any problem whatsoever. We return with 24 hours or have another package
    shipped to the client.
    Contact us for the price list so you can place your order and have your first bills within 3 business days or next day for overnight orders.
    phone number for both text, calls and phone contact..(917) 423-4659

  100. It seems like they have the need to communicate about everything, especially when they are trying to tell you that they need or want

    something. If you ignore them, they will most likely become louder. They can meow in a range of different tones, from sharp to low, giving the impression of a wild

    animal Weblink:

  101. Alex Jackson says:

    Medical pills is an online pharmacy. We are serving people by our cheap and legitimate services in prescription medications. We are based in USA and serving our

    customers world wide. We have license to sell (prescription) drugs by the way of wholesale, issued by the government of the United States. We are official partners

    with PharmaGen Research Laboratories Pvt Ltd, and there are 7 online pharmacies who partner with us.

  102. We are supplier of medical Syringes and Gloves in major international market, We have products in Stock with credible supply ability, However prices are affordable so fee free to visit our website: for more info.

  103. Hello…
    Very informative and useful article.
    Thanks for sharing valuable information with us.
    We offer TEACUP CHIHUAHUA FOR SALE. We specialize in short & long haired Chihuahuas and are an AKC registered breeder. Contact us Today!



  104. Nice one, Thanks for sharing valuable information with us. I really had some good time grabbing some knowledge. Still I am out to speak and propose you stuffs like.. Browse the widest, most trusted source of Chihuahua Puppies For Sale. Search by desired gender, age, and more. Pure Bred Puppies For Sale With One Year Health Guarantee. Contact Us Today.




  105. If you need Chihuahua Puppie For Your Family, just visit TEACUP CHIHUAHUA FOR SALE NEAR ME for the Excellent Quality, Champion Bloodlines Chihuahua Puppies.


  106. Very Nice valuable information by this blog keep sharing, thank you for sharing us. If you are Looking For A Teacup Chihuahua For Sale visit here:- Chihuahua Puppies for Sale | Chihuahua | Teacup Chihuahua Puppies | Chihuahua Breeders & Puppies


  107. We are a small family of Capuchin monkeys located in Illinois we have been breeding capuchin Monkeys for 20years now we have well trained
    Capuchin monkeys for adoption visit

  108. frances says:

    maine coon kittens for sale
    We raise exceptional Maine coon kittens for sale in a loving and caring environment. Dedicated to following a responsible breeding program, our focus is on keeping our animals healthy and happy for when they find their new homes. We are well known for having the best and healthiest maine coon kittens for sale nationwide. Browse wide variety of kittens on our Website.

  109. buy cheap marmoset monkeys, and other exotic pets from a USDA license Breeder in USA very Cheap and affordable
    Contact Us:

  110. Please feel free to visit our website

  111. where to buy premium legit fake id card at

  112. jack pringle says:

    smart crypto private key recovery tool is the best plug to contact for any lost wallet recovery. Best Bitcoin private key hack tool 2021. Fast and secure means to import non-spendable funds into blockchain wallet.

    WhatsApp/Text: +1(646) 926-0214
    Telegram: @Tonybright77
    Emails: [email protected]
    [email protected]


Leave a Reply